NTSB Identification: BFO94LA090.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 05, 1994 in RASSELLAS, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/25/1995
Aircraft: AEROSPATIALE SA318C, registration: N4682
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

During an aerial application flight over wooded terrain, the engine lost total power. The pilot did an autorotation landing into underlying trees. The helicopter descended through the trees and impacted the ground. Post accident examination of the heliopter revealed fuel system was empty. No fuel leaks were found. The examination did not disclose evidence of mechanical malfunction. According to the pilot, the fuel gauge was inoperative and he had been using a calibrated 'dip-stick' to measure the fuel tank's fuel quantity. The pilot reported there was 75 gallons of fuel aboard since the helicopter was last refueled. He stated that he then flew twice for a total of 65 minutes. The power loss occurred on the second flight; the pilot did not report checking the fuel before the flight. According to the manufacturer fuel consumption data, the engine can consume up to 36 gallons of fuel per hour.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and the lost of engine power. Factors in the accident were the pilot operating the helicopter with known deficiencies in equipment and no suitable terrain available for landing.

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