NTSB Identification: LAX97LA206.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, June 10, 1997 in HERON, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/21/1998
Aircraft: Bell UH-1B, registration: N888SJ
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 pilot experienced a partial loss of engine power at a low elevation above ground level, while spraying a tomato field. He initiated an autorotative landing, and the helicopter touched down hard in the field. During the landing sequence, a main rotor blade severed the tail boom. The engine continued operating for between 10 and 12 minutes. Wreckage examination was limited due to extensive fire damage, and the reason for the power loss was not determined.

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

partial loss of engine power for undetermined reasons. A factor relating to the accident was that the engine lost power when the helicopter was outside (below) the limits of the height/velocity curve.

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