NTSB Identification: IAD96FA107.
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Accident occurred Monday, July 08, 1996 in SALEM, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: Bell 206B, registration: N49578
Injuries: 5 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.
Witnesses stated that they observed the helicopter hovering just above some 70 to 80 foot tall trees near the Little Beaver Creek. They said that the helicopter spun around slowly 3 to 4 times and that the main rotor was spinning slowly before it went behind the trees and crashed. The winds at the time were from 010 degrees at 6 knots. Examination of the wreckage found no evidence of pre-impact damage with the airframe, engine or flight controls, however the aircraft was over its gross weight limitations for hovering out of ground effect by 277.7 lbs. Examination of a Operations Safety Notice issued by Bell Helicopter on October 31, 1983, found that the pilot was operating in an environment conducive to loss of tail rotor effectiveness. The pilot's toxicological results were 194.000 mg/dl ethanol detected in blood and 274.000 mg/dl ethanol detected in urine.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's impairment of judgment and performance due to alcohol and the pilot's improper handling of the helicopter resulting in a loss of tail rotor effectiveness. A related factor was the pilot's disregard for the aircraft's weight and balance while hovering out of ground effect. Full narrative available
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