NTSB Identification: BFO93FA019.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 50299.
Accident occurred Monday, January 11, 1993 in TONAWANDA, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/03/1993
Aircraft: HUGHES 269C, registration: N1088Z
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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 aircraft accident report.

THE PILOT REQUESTED AND RECEIVED A SPECIAL VFR CLEARANCE TO DEPART ON A RADIO TRAFFIC WATCH FLIGHT INTO ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS. ABOUT 90 MINUTES LATER, THE PILOT REQUESTED ANOTHER SPECIAL VFR CLEARANCE TO LAND BACK AT THE DEPARTURE AIRPORT. NO PROBLEMS WERE REPORTED BY THE PILOT. RADAR DATA INDICATED THE HELICOPTER WAS TRAVELLING BETWEEN 50 AND 60 KNOTS AND WAS ABOUT 400 FEET ABOVE THE GROUND JUST PRIOR TO LOSS OF RADAR CONTACT. THE HELICOPTER IMPACTED POWER TRANSMISSION LINES 194 FEET ABOVE A RIVER AND DESCENDED INTO THE RIVER. LOW CLOUD CEILINGS, AN OBSCURED SKY, AND LOW VISIBILITY PREVAILED. IT WAS DUSK. AN EXAMINATION OF THE WRECKAGE DID NOT REVEAL ANY MECHANICAL MALFUNCTIONS.

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

IMPROPER INFLIGHT PLANNING/DECISION BY THE PILOT AND HIS FAILURE TO MAINTAIN CLEARANCE FROM AN OBSTACLE DURING FLIGHT. FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT INCLUDE POOR VISIBILITY AND WEATHER CONDITIONS AT DUSK, AND THE PILOT'S EXCESSIVE AIRSPEED FOR THE CONDITIONS.

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