NTSB Identification: FTW98TA099.
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Accident occurred Thursday, January 15, 1998 in MAGDALENA, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/16/2001
Aircraft: Bell 47G-3B-1, registration: N7901S
Injuries: 2 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 helicopter was being used in the Federal Government's predator control program. The pilot said he and his passenger were flying north and entered a draw. The prey they were chasing (a coyote) turned east and they flew over it at low airspeed and altitude. The pilot was having 'trouble maintaining rotor rpm.' With higher terrain in front and to his left, he elected to turn east in hopes of exiting the draw to the south. Trees and rough terrain forced him to continue eastward. The pilot found himself below a draw and he pulled collective control. This aggravated the low rpm condition, but the helicopter cleared the rim. On the other side of the rim, the ground sloped down at a 40 degree angle and the pilot tried to stretch his descent towards flatter terrain in an attempt to make a run-on landing. The helicopter impacted the terrain and was substantially damaged. The FAA inspector who went to the scene wrote, 'There is no apparent reason for the helicopter to have lost rpm. Review of the pilot records indicate only 14 hours of flight time in the last 90 days and no training in the last three years, and the last biennial flight review was almost 20 months ago.'

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate main rotor rpm. A factor was a lack of recent experience in the type of operation being performed.

Full narrative available

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