NTSB Identification: NYC94GA066.
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Accident occurred Saturday, March 19, 1994 in NORTHFORD, CT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/18/1994
Aircraft: HUGHES 369A, registration: N97LC
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

: NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

THE ARMY NATIONAL GUARD HAD TRANSFERRED THE HELICOPTER TO A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY THE DAY PRIOR TO THE ACCIDENT. THE HELICOPTER WAS CRUISING ABOUT 800 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL IN LOOSE FORMATION WITH ANOTHER HELICOPTER, WHEN RADIO AND VISUAL CONTACT WERE LOST. WITNESSES SAW THE HELICOPTER IN A DESCENT AND OBSERVED IT IMPACT TREES. NO DISTRESS CALLS WERE HEARD FROM THE PILOT. EVIDENCE INDICATED THAT THE MAIN AND TAIL ROTOR BLADES WERE AT LOW RPM. EXAMINATION OF THE ENGINE AND COMPONENTS INDICATED LOW POWER AT IMPACT. NO DISCREPANCIES WERE NOTED DURING THE EXAMINATION. A POST IMPACT FIRE DESTROYED MAJOR PORTIONS OF THE ENGINE AND FUSELAGE. THE PILOT FLEW WITH A FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR FOR 1.1 HOURS THE DAY BEFORE THE ACCIDENT. THIS WAS THE PILOT'S ONLY FLIGHT TIME IN THIS MODEL HELICOPTER PRIOR TO THE ACCIDENT. ALSO, OTHER THAN THIS FLIGHT, HE HAD NOT FLOWN ANY HELICOPTER IN OVER 5 YEARS.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

THE LOSS OF ENGINE POWER FOR UNDETERMINED REASONS, AND THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN ROTOR RPM DURING THE FORCED LANDING AUTOROTATION, RESULTING IN A LOSS OF AIRCRAFT CONTROL AND COLLISION WITH TREES. ALSO CAUSAL TO THE ACCIDENT WAS THE PILOT'S LACK OF RECENT HELICOPTER EXPEREINCE AND HIS LACK OF EXPERIENCE IN THIS MODEL HELICOPTER.

Full narrative available

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