NTSB Identification: LAX96FA076.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, December 20, 1995 in FEATHER FALLS, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/08/1997
Aircraft: Hughes 369D, registration: N8395F
Injuries: 1 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.

While conducting external load operations, the aircraft was orbiting east of a logging pickup site when the sling load contacted trees and terrain near a ridge. Weather at the time was clear with light winds. The helicopter was seen shaking and oscillating followed by a flat spin with the sling line still visibly attached. A radio call asking what was wrong was made with no reply. The first persons to reach the accident site found the belly hook and line still engaged. Evidence of freshly broken tree limbs and branches was found back along the flight path. Deposits of woody debris were also noted on sections of the lines and load. No discrepancies were found with the belly hook.

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

the pilot's failure to jettison his external load after it came in contact with trees and terrain. The pilot's failure to maintain altitude/clearance above trees and hilly terrain was a related factor.

Full narrative available

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