NTSB Identification: SEA97LA029.
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Accident occurred Monday, November 18, 1996 in BALLSTON, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: Bell 206B3, registration: N921RB
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.

Witnesses observed the helicopter begin a left turn from north to west, then begin rotating to the left, after lifting an external load of Christmas trees. The helicopter rotated about 1 to 1 1/2 turns, then impacted the ground on its left side. Local winds at the time were from the southeast at 5 to 15 knots, according to the witnesses. On-site investigators found no evidence of airframe or engine malfunction, and noted dirt and packed mud in the engine compressor. The pilot, who was seriously injured, had no recollection of the accident sequence. In a test run of the engine at the manufacturer's facilities, the engine would not produce more than normal cruise power, but the manufacturer's test report stated that the only observable cause for this was extensive foreign object damage to the inlet guide vanes and first stage compressor blades. The engine fuel control and governor were also functionally tested and found to be slightly out of limits at certain test points, but the manufacturer stated that the exceedances observed would not significantly affect engine power output.

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

a loss of control for undetermined reasons.

Full narrative available

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