NTSB Identification: IAD97FA032.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Thursday, December 12, 1996 in PENN YAN, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/31/1998
Aircraft: Mbb BO-105CBS, registration: N90750
Injuries: 3 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.

The pilot landed the helicopter in an open field for a medical evacuation. He had planned to fly to a hospital about 40 miles northwest. After takeoff, the pilot radioed the company dispatcher that he was airborne, and to standby for time and distance to the destination. The distance would be obtained from a GPS located on the rear of the helicopter's center console. About 2 minutes later, the helicopter crashed in a secluded wooded area on rising terrain about 1.1 miles northwest of the departure point. Witnesses reported that the cloud cover and the isolated area made a dark night with no discernable horizon. Winds were reported as strong and gusty from the south/southeast. The topography surrounding the area included rising terrain, with peaks at 2,700 feet msl. The helicopter had departed an airport with an elevation of 814 feet msl. The pick-up point was 1,540 feet msl, and the accident site was 1,740 feet msl. Cloud cover in the area was at 1,900 to 2,000 feet msl.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain altitude/clearance from the terrain. Factors relating to the accident were: the pilot's diverted attention to the GPS, darkness, low ceiling, rising terrain, and high wind condition.

Full narrative available

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