NTSB Identification: SEA97LA168.
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Accident occurred Monday, July 14, 1997 in IDAHO FALLS, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/28/2000
Aircraft: Bell 47G-3B, registration: N8494E
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 reported that upon making the last spray pass of a potato field he noted a low fuel state and turned back towards his refueling truck. At an altitude of 10-15 feet above ground and an airspeed of approximately 25 knots, the engine lost power. The pilot reported that 'when it quit I did not have the time to do any auto(rotation). It stopped and I hit the ground.' An FAA inspector confirmed the lack of fuel on board the aircraft following the accident. The height-velocity diagram for the Bell 47G-3B placed the aircraft on the boundary of the envelope for a successful autorotation at the altitude and speed at the time of the power loss.

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

The pilot mismanaged his fuel supply which led to fuel exhaustion and subsequent loss of engine power. Factors contributing to the accident were the lack of adequate altitude and airspeed to successfully execute an autorotation.

Full narrative available

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