NTSB Identification: CHI97GA166.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, June 11, 1997 in CEDAR RAPIDS, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2000
Aircraft: Hughes 269A-1, registration: N1020U
Injuries: 2 Serious.
: 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 public aircraft accident report.
After refueling, the pilot departed north from a helipad with an observer aboard. The helicopter overflew a 50 foot building located 141 feet from the pad. The helicopter started to shudder over the building and shuddered again when it crossed a powerline located 292 feet from the pad. The observer reported the helicopter did a right, flat turn. The helicopter impacted the top crossbeam of a powerline pole, then impacted the ground in a right skid down, nose low attitude. A fire erupted. The pilot was initially pinned in the wreckage, but the observer & a truck driver, who arrived at the scene, were able to extricate the pilot. Investigation revealed evidence of continuity in the flight controls and engine, but the magnetos were fire damaged & could not be tested. Performance calculations indicated that power required for a 50' hover out of ground effect (HOGE) would have been 154 HP; power available should have been 173 HP. The local airport's (Aviation Routine Weather Report) METAR winds indicated 100 degrees at 7 knots. The wind sock at the helicopter pad was not functional. For takeoff, the pilot also had the option to depart the helipad on a heading of 140 degrees, or to depart on a heading of 320 degrees after back taxiing about 150 feet for additional takeoff distance. The pilot received serious burns & head injuries. He was wearing a polyester based police uniform & no flight helmet or gloves. The observer was wearing a Nomex flight suit and boots, but no helmet or gloves.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: loss of engine power due to undetermined reason(s). Related factors included the obstructions (building, utility pole, and transmission wires); and the lack of a functional windsock, due to inadequate facility maintenance by the operator. Full narrative available
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