NTSB Identification: MIA96LA106.
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Accident occurred Monday, March 25, 1996 in DEFUNIAK SPRING, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/1996
Aircraft: Enstrom F-28C, registration: N56874
Injuries: 1 Minor,1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The noninstrument-rated commercial pilot was in cruise flight flying over an interstate highway at night. The ceiling reported by an FAA Flight Service Station (destination airport) was 400 feet overcast, visibility 2 miles, with drizzle and fog. The pilot flew into a fog bank and the helicopter encountered instrument flight conditions. The pilot slowed the helicopter down and initiated a 180-degree right turn. During the turn, he heard a 'popping' sound to his left and observed a flickering light on the instrument panel. He checked the flight instruments, noticed the helicopter was in a diving right turn, observed lights on the interstate highway and increased collective pitch. The main rotor blades collided with trees, and the helicopter went to the right, crossed the interstate highway, hit some more trees, and crashed.

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

The pilot's inadvertent flight into instrument meteorological conditions, and inadvertent descent, due to spatial disorientation, which resulted in a collision with trees. Factors relating to the accident were: the adverse weather conditions and the pilot's lack of instrument experience.

Full narrative available

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