NTSB Identification: NYC95FA050.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, January 18, 1995 in JACKSON TWP, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/31/1995
Aircraft: AGUSTA A109C, registration: N1WD
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.

DURING AN IFR FLIGHT, THE HELICOPTER PILOT WAS PROCEEDING TOWARD THE DESTINATION WITH USE OF HIS LORAN. HE WAS CLEARED FOR A VOR/DME ALPHA APPROACH TO AN AIRPORT 3 MILES WEST OF THE DESTINATION HELIPAD. (PRESUMABLY, HE PLANNED TO PROCEED VFR FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE HELIPAD.) THE APPROACH CONTROLLER OBSERVED (ON RADAR) WHAT APPEARED TO BE A NORMAL APPROACH UNTIL CONTACT WAS LOST AT 700 FEET MSL. A WITNESS MID-WAY BETWEEN THE AIRPORT AND THE HELIPAD OBSERVED THE HELICOPTER WEST BOUND AT ABOUT 150 FEET. A WITNESS NEAR THE AIRPORT REPORTED THE HELICOPTER CIRCLED HIS HOUSE; HE THEN LOST SIGHT OF THE HELICOPTER WHEN IT FLEW NORTHWEST AT 200 FEET INTO THE CLOUDS. ANOTHER WITNESS ABOUT A MILE NORTHWEST OF THE AIRPORT HEARD THE HELICOPTER FLY OVERHEAD IN THE CLOUDS. BOTH WITNESSES REPORTED THE HELICOPTER DESCENDED OUT OF THE CLOUDS IN A STEEP DESCENT AND IMPACTED THE TERRAIN. EXAMINATION REVEALED THAT BOTH ENGINES WERE OPERATING; NO PREIMPACT AIRFRAME FAILURE WAS NOTED. THE WEATHER AT NEARBY AIRPORTS WAS REPORTED AS 600 FEET OBSCURED WITH DRIZZLE AND FOG. WITNESSES ESTIMATED THE CEILING AT THE ACCIDENT SITE TO BE 200 TO 400 FEET.

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

THE PILOT'S IMPROPER IN-FLIGHT PLANNING/DECISION AND FAILURE TO MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THE AIRPLANE AFTER BECOMING SPATIALLY DISORIENTED. FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: DARKNESS AND THE ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS.

Full narrative available

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