NTSB Identification: FTW96TA261.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, June 18, 1996 in PAGOSA SPRINGS, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: Bell 212, registration: N91AL
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

During support of forest fire fighting operations, the helicopter was conducting water drops and was on it's fifth drop of the flight. While proceeding upslope and down wind, at near maximum gross weight for hover out of ground effect, the helicopter began to settle. The pilot attempted to jettison the water load and reverse course. Jettisoning was unsuccessful and the helicopter settled into trees in the fire zone. The pilot sustained minor injuries and the helicopter sustained substantial damage from impact and post impact fire. During transport to storage by another helicopter, using a long line, the accident aircraft was dropped from approximately 700 feet, resulting in total destruction of the aircraft.

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

The pilot's failure to comply with performance data for hover out of ground effect. A factor was not attaining load jettison.

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