NTSB Identification: IAD98GA039.
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Accident occurred Thursday, March 12, 1998 in QUANTICO, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/07/2000
Aircraft: Bell 412, registration: N82628
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

: 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 FBI helicopter completed two circuits around a training road course at low altitude in pursuit of an automobile. The supervisor of the road course arranged the scenario with the pilot, and an instructor drove the automobile. A second vehicle that followed the pursuit filmed the flight. During the second lap, the vehicle reversed direction as it performed a sudden stop. The helicopter performed a deceleration and the tail skid, tailrotor, and tailboom struck the ground. A request for copies of procedural, operational, maintenance, and safety related programs and documents revealed that they either did not exist, or they were in draft form and unapproved for use. The flight was neither trained for, nor was it briefed. The pilots received training from the helicopter manufacturer, but no agency mission training or evaluations were noted in the accident helicopter. The FBI convened an Aviation Accident Review Board (AARB). According to the Board, '... [Unit] pilots worked under the 'fly one helicopter, fly all helicopter' assumption. AARB members unanimously agreed that no management oversight of [unit] operations currently exists.'

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

the pilot's failure to maintain adequate altitude/clearance above the terrain and the lack of management oversight of aircrews and equipment.

Full narrative available

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