NTSB Identification: CHI98LA021.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, October 14, 1997 in GRAND FORKS, ND
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/02/1998
Aircraft: Schweizer 269C, registration: N557DC
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 stated he knew he was low on fuel during the last leg of a cross country flight. The low fuel light illuminated when he was 9.5 miles from the destination airport. The pilot elected to make a precautionary landing. The light went off during the landing descent. The pilot continued the descent at which time he felt a yaw to the right. Suspecting an engine failure, he initiated a 'hovering autorotation' only to discover he still had engine power. He reported he regained control of the helicopter and continued the landing. It was later determined that the helicopter contacted an electrical wire which ran across a nearby road.

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

the pilot's inadequate preflight planning which resulted in a low fuel state, and his inability to see the wire which the helicopter contacted. Factors associated to the accident were the precautionary landing, the dark night conditions, and the wire which was contacted.

Full narrative available

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