NTSB Identification: MIA94GA174.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, July 06, 1994 in CARYVILLE, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/03/1995
Aircraft: AEROSPATIALE AS-350, registration: N901BA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

: 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 PILOT DEPARTED TALLAHASSEE IN MARGINAL VFR CONDITIONS. THE CEILING WAS ESTIMATED 500-600 FT, RAGGED, AND VISIBILITY 3/4 TO 1-1/2 MI IN RAIN. OBSERVING TOWERS ABOUT 3/4 MI IN FRONT OF HIS FLIGHT PATH, HE REDUCED AIRSPEED, TURNED RIGHT TOWARDS A BORROW PIT HE HAD PREVIOUSLY FLOWN OVER, AND ENCOUNTERED HEAVY RAIN. VISIBILITY DROPPED TO ABOUT 1/2-1/4 MI, AND THE HELICOPTER ENCOUNTERED INSTRUMENT FLIGHT CONDITIONS. THE PILOT STARTED A DESCENT TO 200 FT AGL, REGAINED VISUAL FLIGHT CONDITIONS, SAW THE BORROW PIT, AND CONTINUED THE DESCENT WITH A FAST CLOSURE RATE. A DECELERATION DESCRIBED SIMILAR TO A QUICK STOP WAS INITIATED, AND THE TAILROTOR COLLIDED WITH THE WATER. THE HELICOPTER PITCHED FORWARD, THE MAIN ROTOR BLADES COLLIDED WITH THE WATER, AND THE HELICOPTER ROLLED OVER ON ITS RIGHT SIDE. THE PILOT CONCLUDED HIS JUDGMENT WAS IMPAIRED FROM FATIGUE DUE TO LACK OF SLEEP.

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

THE PILOT'S INTENTIONAL CONTINUED FLIGHT INTO INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS. CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS PILOT FATIGUE.

Full narrative available

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