NTSB Identification: BFO94FA135.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Friday, August 12, 1994 in WHITING, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/24/1995
Aircraft: BELL 206L-4, registration: N124NH
Injuries: 3 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 aircraft accident report.

The non-instrument rated commercial pilot was en route at 2000 feet msl on a night VFR flight when he reported an inadvertent encounter with instrument meteorological conditions. The helicopter (N124NH) subsequently crashed in a wooded area while in a steep descent. During the 35 minute flight, the pilot was in radio contact with air traffic control, the company dispatcher, and a company pilot in another helicopter. He was receiving VFR flight following service. During the flight, the pilot expressed concern about the weather to the other company pilot and indicated that he was going to turn back. He then reported that the weather had cleared and that he would proceed to the destination. However, later, he requested and was given a heading to reverse course because of fog. About 2 minutes thereafter (at 2105 edt), ATC lost radar contact with the flight. At about that same time, the other company pilot called to check the pilot's progress. The pilot (of N124NH) responded that he was going 'inverted.' There was no further transmission received from the pilot. An examination of the wreckage did not disclose a preimpact mechanical failure or malfunction.

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

THE PILOT'S IMPROPER IN-FLIGHT PLANNING/DECISION, FLIGHT INTO INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS (IMC), AND SUBSEQUENT SPATIAL DISORIENTATION, WHICH RESULTED IN LOSS OF AIRCRAFT CONTROL. FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: DARKNESS, THE ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS (FOG AND HAZE), AND THE PILOT'S LACK OF INSTRUMENT EXPERIENCE.

Full narrative available

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