NTSB Identification: LAX97TA213.
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Accident occurred Monday, June 16, 1997 in FALLON, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/21/1998
Aircraft: Bell 47G-3B-1, registration: N1335X
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

The engine of the helicopter lost power after about 3 hours of flying. An autorotative descent was made to a site at 6,500 feet density altitude, and the helicopter was damaged during the landing. After the accident, 1.9 gallons of fuel were drained from the entire fuel system. The helicopter's unusable fuel quantity was 2.5 gallons. Examination of the helicopter revealed no evidence of a preaccident mechanical malfunction or failure. A manufacturer's representative opined that an autorotative landing at 6,500 feet density altitude would likely result in a hard landing. The engine carburetor flow tested within the manufacturer's specifications.

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

exhaustion of the aircraft's fuel supply, due to improper planning and/or decision. A factor related to the accident was the high density altitude which made a successful autorotative landing unlikely.

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