NTSB Identification: CHI96FA091.
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Accident occurred Monday, February 19, 1996 in DWEESE, NE
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1997
Aircraft: Hughes 369D, registration: N5141Y
Injuries: 2 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 helicopter was being used to place workers and rigging on top of a transmission tower. This was the pilot's third flight in this type of operation. He was previously instructed that landing on the 'bridge' of the tower was not a desired place to land the helicopter. He briefed the work crew indicating that he would let them out on the 'goats peak' and not land on the bridge. The helicopter was then observed to takeoff and put one worker off on the north 'goats peak;' however, instead of putting the other worker off on the south 'goats peak' the helicopter was observed to land on the 'bridge.' After the worker and rigging were off loaded, the helicopter was seen to back off the 'bridge.' At that time the main rotor system was seen to strike the tower structure and then the helicopter descended to impact the terrain. The wind was estimated by witnesses (at the surface) to be from the southwest at 15 knots.

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

the pilot's improper in-flight planning and decision, and his lack of total experience in the type of operation. A factor was the crosswind.

Full narrative available

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