NTSB Identification: FTW97GA350.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, September 17, 1997 in NEWARK, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/12/1999
Aircraft: Bell OH-58A, registration: N149SD
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

: 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.

The helicopter collided with the ground after it descended from level flight in a right rotating turn. According to witnesses, the helicopter landed and tookoff after a few minutes on the ground. The helicopter circled the airport and was headed upwind about 500 feet above the ground when it pitched up, 'hovered for an instant' and descended to the ground. Examination of the helicopter did not disclose evidence of mechanical malfunction. The filament of the low rotor rpm warning light bulb was stretched, which was indicative that it was on at the time of impact. Acoustic analysis of a video tape recording of the accident revealed the rotor rpm during the descent was 80 percent (normal operating range 90-107 percent). According to the helicopter manufacturer, under the given conditions, at a gross weight of 3,250 pounds, and a height of 500 feet, a hover out of ground effect can be accomplished. The estimated gross weight of the helicopter was 2,750 pounds.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate rotor rpm which resulted in a loss of aircraft control.

Full narrative available

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