NTSB Identification: LAX92LA152.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 46762.
Accident occurred Friday, March 27, 1992 in WATSONVILLE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/26/1993
Aircraft: HILLER UH-12E, registration: N149HA
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 CERTIFICATED COMMERCIAL PILOT WAS CONDUCTING AERIAL SPRAY OPERATIONS IN A HELICOPTER. ABOUT 30 MINUTES AFTER DEPARTING A NEARBY AIRPORT, THE PILOT WAS TAKING OFF FROM A FIELD TO BEGIN APPLYING THE THIRD LOAD OF AN INSECTICIDE. ABOUT 100 YARDS FROM THE TAKEOFF POINT, THE HELICOPTER'S ENGINE SUDDENLY LOST POWER AND SOUNDED AS IF IT WAS MISFIRING. THE HELICOPTER BEGAN TO DESCEND AND THE PILOT FLARED THE HELICOPTER TO SLOW THE ITS FORWARD MOTION. THE TAIL ROTOR STRUCK THE GROUND AND THE HELICOPTER THEN SETTLED INTO THE FIELD, COLLAPSING THE LANDING GEAR SKIDS. THE WRECKAGE EXAMINATION AT THE ACCIDENT SITE REVEALED WATER IN THE MAIN FUEL SUMP. A POST ACCIDENT EXAMINATION OF THE ENGINE REVEALED CONTAMINATION IN THE FUEL SUMP AND LEFT CARBURETOR SCREEN.

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

A FAILURE OF THE PILOT TO CONDUCT AN ADEQUATE PRE-FLIGHT INSPECTION OF THE AIRCRAFT TO ENSURE THAT THE FUEL SUPPLY WAS FREE OF CONTAMINATES. CONTRIBUTING TO THIS ACCIDENT WAS FUEL CONTAMINATION.

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