NTSB Identification: FTW96LA175.
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Accident occurred Friday, April 19, 1996 in FRANKLIN, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/11/1996
Aircraft: Robinson R22 BETA, registration: N2329K
Injuries: 2 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 pilot of the helicopter returned to his point of departure to pick up some equipment. While there, he elected to refuel the helicopter. A pick-up truck, equipped with an auxiliary fuel tank, was driven to the right side of the helicopter, under the turning rotors, to refuel while the engine was running. The pilot stayed at the controls of the helicopter. Just prior to the start of the refueling operation, a gust of wind caused the main rotor blades to flex and impact the top of the truck's cab. The winds were reported from 170 degrees at 18 gusting 25 knots.

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

The pilot's poor judgment in attempting to refuel the helicopter with the engine (and rotors) operating. Factors relating to the accident were: the gusty wind condition, and close proximity of the vehicle that was allowed to be driven under the turning rotors.

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