NTSB Identification: NYC96LA143.
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Accident occurred Friday, July 05, 1996 in LAKEWOOD, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/1997
Aircraft: Aerospatiale AS-332L, registration: N25AN
Injuries: 3 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.

After three flights, the helicopter was landed and the engines were shut down. When a passenger was boarded, the engines were restarted, and the pilot taxied the helicopter for takeoff. While waiting to takeoff, about 5 to 10 minutes after the engines were started, the pilot noticed a stiffness in the flight controls. This was followed immediately by illumination of electrical warning lights, loss of power from both alternators, and an odor of smoke in the cabin. Both engines were shut down, fire bottles were discharged, and the crew and passenger exited the helicopter. Examination of the fuselage revealed a fire had been centered around the right lateral hydraulic servo. The number two hydraulic lower cylinder distribution module of the right lateral servo had melted, and the high pressure lines were found 'free' of the module. The helicopter's alternators, located aft of the main transmission, contained internal cooling fans that drew air through the alternators. The alternators and their respective wiring bundles were extensively damaged by fire. The ignition source of the fire was not determined. The fire detection system (with visual and aural signals) did not activate prior to the electrical warning lights.

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

a number two system module hydraulic oil leak, which was ignited by an undetermined source and resulted in a hydraulic fluid fire.

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