NTSB Identification: SEA96LA100.
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Accident occurred Sunday, May 26, 1996 in WALLA WALLA, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/1997
Aircraft: Hiller UH-12, registration: N174HA
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 reported that he exhausted his fuel supply while attempting to land at the destination airport for refueling. He had previously attempted to refuel at a remote landing zone equipped with a fuel truck, but the fuel truck was unable to pump fuel at that time. The pilot and the owner of the operation boarded the helicopter and decided to fly to the airport with what they thought was about 14 gallons of fuel on board. The pilot intended on landing the helicopter (en route), if the fuel gauge reached the 'yellow' range during the flight. About 2.5 nautical miles from the airport, when the fuel gauge needle was slightly outside of the yellow range, the engine 'quit.' The pilot executed an immediate autorotation. One of the helicopter's skids impacted soft terrain during the landing and a main rotor blade struck the ground. The helicopter rolled over and was substantially damaged.

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

the pilot's inadequate preflight/planning, and his failure to refuel the helicopter with sufficient fuel before flight, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and a subsequent forced landing. A factor relating to the accident was: an inaccurate fuel quantity gauge, which displayed a false indication of fuel.

Full narrative available

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