NTSB Identification: ATL97LA002.
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Accident occurred Saturday, October 12, 1996 in BENNETTSVILLE, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/1997
Aircraft: Bell UH-IB, registration: N846MC
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 helicopter was being used on an aerial application flight when it collided with the ground. There were no reported eyewitnesses to the accident. Head injuries of the pilot prevented him from giving a full account of the accident. Examination of the accident site disclosed that the tail section of the airframe collided with the ground, followed by the nose section colliding with a stump. Examination of the airframe and subsystems failed to disclose a mechanical problem. A review of the aircraft maintenance logs disclosed several open discrepancies. One discrepancy stated that the left fuel boost pump was not operational. According to the aircraft operator's manual, about 55 pounds of fuel would have been unusable in the left tank, if the boost pump was not operational. Wreckage examination revealed about 1/4 inch of fuel in the right fuel tank and about four inches (less than 55 pounds) of fuel in the left fuel tank. Neither the odor of fuel nor visible fuel leakage was noted at the accident site. Cockpit examination revealed that the left fuel pump boost circuit breaker was out. No fuel tank selector was installed in the UH-1B helicopter.

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

the pilot's improper planning/decision, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and loss of engine power due to an inadequate supply of usable fuel. A factor relating to the accident was: an inoperative left boost pump, which increased the amount of unusable fuel in the respective tank.

Full narrative available

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