NTSB Identification: SEA97FA003.
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Accident occurred Saturday, October 05, 1996 in SPOKANE, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: Enstrom F-28C, registration: N574H
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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.

The pilot began the takeoff in the helicopter while giving a ride to a passenger at a local festival. About 100 feet above the ground, the engine began to run rough and quit. The helicopter, which was not insured, was damaged when the pilot initiated an emergency descent and impacted trees. The operator claimed that the fuel in the helicopter, his fuel truck, and his ground supply tank had been contaminated with jet fuel prior to the accident. Subsequent NTSB testing revealed that the fuel could not have been contaminated, and that jet fuel must have been added to the helicopter and the operator's self-tested fuel samples after the accident. The engine was examined in detail and tested by NTSB. No evidence of damage due to jet fuel contamination was found. The engine initially ran rough due to a restricted fuel nozzle, then ran within specifications (no turbocharger) after the nozzle was changed. The nozzle restriction was not found. Maintenance discrepancies such as a leaking turbocharger, improperly installed fuel nozzles, crimped fuel vent line, and a separated magneto cap were found, but no conclusive evidence associated with the accident power loss was found.

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

a loss of engine power for undetermined reasons.

Full narrative available

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