NTSB Identification: FTW98LA356.
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Accident occurred Friday, August 07, 1998 in UVALDE, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/15/2001
Aircraft: Hughes 269B, registration: N9425F
Injuries: 2 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.

After positioning the helicopter for takeoff (where he had successfully operated the helicopter from on previous occasions), the pilot attempted a confined area take offover a stand of trees. The pilot stated that he had to 'lift straight up to clear the trees.' Upon reaching a hover just above the tree tops, the pilot 'felt power bleeding off so [he] nosed over trying to get airspeed.' He could not 'get any airspeed', so he turned toward a narrow clearing using 'right pedal' and reduced collective to 'make a run on landing.' Upon ground contact, the right skid dug into the rain soaked ground, and the helicopter rolled onto its side blades. After the accident, the pilot reported that it had been raining for 1 1/2 days prior to the accident and that it was 'hot and muggy' on the morning of the accident. He estimated the temperature to be about 95 degrees with 'high humidity and no wind.' He also stated that he did not believe he had any type of mechanical failure and that the engine seemed to be performing normally. He felt that the density altitude, gross weight, and the out of ground effect operation all contributed to the accident. The approximate elevation in the area of the accident is 941 feet MSL.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain control during a vertical, out of ground effect takeoff which resulted in a hard emergency landing. Factors were; the exceeded hover performance of the helicopter, the high density altitude, and the lack of suitable terrain for the emergency landing [high obstructions (trees) and soft ground].

Full narrative available

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