NTSB Identification: LAX94LA201.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 10, 1994 in PACIFIC OCEAN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/14/1994
Aircraft: SCHWEIZER 300C, registration: N60718
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that he was 35 minutes into the fish-spotting flight when he 'heard something wrong with the engine.' He then turned his helicopter in the direction of his ship and began a precautionary approach to the water. The pilot stated that engine performance continued to deteriorate during the descent. At an altitude between 350 and 400 feet at an airspeed of 50-to- 60 knots, the engine failed completely. The pilot then initiated an autorotation and turned left into the wind. Approximately 30 seconds after the first indication of an engine problem, the pilot autorotated into the water and landed hard. The pilot stated that he landed hard because of the 'high density altitude conditions, no wind conditions, low altitude where the engine actually failed and quit.' The pilot also stated that the sun's reflection on the water 'created some illusions which made it difficult to visually establish the distance from the water, the speed, and the rate of descent.' The nature of the engine problem was not reported by the operator.

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

THE LOW ALTITUDE OF THE AIRCRAFT WHEN THE ENGINE LOST POWER AND THE PILOT'S MISJUDGEMENT OF THE FLARE POINT DURING THE AUTOROTATION. FACTORS IN THE ACCIDENT WERE THE LOSS OF ENGINE POWER AND THE SUNGLARE.

Full narrative available

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