NTSB Identification: FTW95FA308.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 22, 1995 in BORGER, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/27/1996
Aircraft: BELL 206-L3, registration: N111JA
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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.

ACCORDING TO THE PILOT, HE NOTICED THUNDERSTORMS 'DEVELOPING RAPIDLY' TO THE LEFT OF HIS FLIGHT PATH; HOWEVER, 'THEY APPEARED TO BE AT A SAFE DISTANCE.' HE FURTHER REPORTED THAT, HE NOTICED DUST PICKING UP ON THE GROUND, ALONG WITH SOME DEBRIS, ABOUT 1/2 MILE AHEAD, AND TO THE LEFT OF HIS FLIGHT PATH. AFTER INITIATING A TURN TO THE RIGHT, AWAY FROM THE STORM AREA, HE 'COULD NOT CONTROL THE HELICOPTER', AND DOES NOT RECALL THE ENSUING GROUND IMPACT. DOPPLER RADAR IMAGES, FOR THE TIME AND AREA OF THE ACCIDENT, SHOW RAPIDLY DEVELOPING WEATHER ECHOES IN THE VICINITY OF THE ACCIDENT SITE. ALSO, BASE VELOCITY DATA, AT THE APPROXIMATE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT, SHOW A SIGNIFICANT THUNDERSTORM OUTFLOW BOUNDARY LOCATED JUST NORTHWEST OF THE ACCIDENT SITE. SEVERAL WITNESSES, IN THE VICINITY OF THE ACCIDENT SITE, REPORTED HIGH WINDS AND TURBULENT CONDITIONS. ALL STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS, TAIL AND MAIN ROTOR DRIVE SYSTEMS, ENGINE COMPONENTS, AND FLIGHT CONTROLS, THAT WERE NOT DESTROYED BY IMPACT FORCES AND POSTIMPACT FIRE, DID NOT REVEAL EVIDENCE OF FAILURE PRIOR TO IMPACT.

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

THE PILOT'S LOSS OF CONTROL DUE TO AN ENCOUNTER WITH A DUST DEVIL/WHIRLWIND AND THE TURBULENCE AND HIGH WIND ASSOCIATED WITH THUNDERSTORM OUTFLOW.

Full narrative available

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