NTSB Identification: MIA98LA051.
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Accident occurred Saturday, January 03, 1998 in BUNNELL, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/30/1998
Aircraft: Bell 47D1, registration: N59326
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 student pilot was on a supervised solo flight in the traffic pattern, practicing landings and takeoffs. At an altitude of about 300 feet above the airport, the helicopter's engine lost power. The student autorotated to an open field, and the helicopter was damaged during a forced landing. The student said when he checked the fuel gauge during preflight, it indicated '5/8' of a tank, which was confirmed by a 'dip stick test.' When he next checked the fuel gauge after doing some pattern work, it indicated '3/8' tank. According to an FAA Inspector's statement, '...the fuel tank was drained and less than 12 ounces of fuel remained in the undamaged fuel tank...no other maintenance discrepancies were found which may have contributed to the accident.' The flight was about 1 hour and 10 minutes in duration.

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

the student pilot's improper planning/decision, which resulted in fuel exhaustion, loss of engine power, and a forced landing.

Full narrative available

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