NTSB Identification: FTW98LA367.
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Accident occurred Saturday, August 22, 1998 in NATURITA, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/13/2000
Aircraft: Aerospatiale SA315B, registration: N49525
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

While approaching a hover during external load operations carrying a 1,200-pound compressor, the engine lost partial power and the pilot conducted an emergency landing without releasing the load due to proximity of ground personnel. The landing was hard, in trees, and the helicopter sustained substantial damage. The pilot received serious injuries. Examination of the engine provided evidence of overheat in the turbine area and both the stator and turbine blades were eroded with the turbine blades eroded about 1/3 of their length. The fuel control and fuel pump were tested and operated within normal parameters. No evidence was found to explain the cause of the overheat.

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

Partial loss of engine power resulting from heat induced deterioration of the gas generator turbine. Factors were a forced landing in hilly unsuitable terrain containing mature trees.

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