NTSB Identification: SEA97LA191.
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Accident occurred Sunday, August 17, 1997 in WELLPINIT, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/04/1998
Aircraft: Bell 47G, registration: N9571
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.

As the pilot was landing the helicopter on a gravel bar on a bank of the Spokane River, a main rotor blade contacted the bank. The helicopter dropped and tumbled onto the rocks. The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions. According to records kept by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot was operating a restricted-category aircraft on a personal flight. Also, the pilot's FAA Third Class Medical Certificate had expired about 8 months prior to the accident.

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

The pilot's selection of an unsuitable landing site, and his failure to maintain rotor blade clearance from terrain during landing.

Full narrative available

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