NTSB Identification: LAX92GA347.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 47847.
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 12, 1992 in MAXWELL, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/15/1993
Aircraft: HUGHES 369D, registration: N58425
Injuries: 1 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 public aircraft accident report.

THE HELICOPTER COLLIDED WITH A POWERLINE TRANSMISSION TOWER WHILE TOWING CABLE ATTACHED BY MEANS OF A CARGO HOOK. THE HELICOPTER WAS MOVING LATERALLY TOWARD THE TOWER WHEN IT HIT THE TOWER WITH THE M/R BLADES. THE BLADE TIP WEIGHT SEPARATED AND PENETRATED THE TAIL BOOM IN TWO PLACES, DAMAGING THE T/R DRIVE SHAFT. THE HELICOPTER SPUN TWICE TO THE RIGHT IN A SLOW DESCENT TETHERED BY THE STEEL CABLE. DURING THE SECOND TURN, PARTS OF THE T/R SEPARATED. WITNESSES DID NOT OBSERVE THE CABLE BEING JETTISONED. THE PILOT WAS NEWLY HIRED, AND DID NOT HAVE ANY PRIOR CLASS C EXTERNAL LOAD EXPERIENCE. HE HAD RECEIVED TRAINING BY THE COMPANY CHIEF PILOT, WHO THEN LEFT THE COMPANY 3 DAYS AFTER THE PILOT WAS HIRED, LEAVING THE PILOT TO WORK ALONE. THE FAA OFFICE HOLDING THE OPERATOR'S CERTIFICATE HAD BEEN NOTIFIED OF THE CHIEF PILOT'S DEPARTURE. THE OFFICE DID NOT, NOR WAS IT REQUIRED TO, NOTIFY THE LOCAL FAA DISTRICT OFFICE OF THE OPERATOR'S EXTERNAL LOAD OPERATIONS WITHIN THAT OFFICE'S GEOGRAPHIC RESPONSIBILITY.

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

THE FAILURE OF THE PILOT TO MAINTAIN AN ADEQUATE VISUAL OUTLOOK, AND FAILURE OF THE COMPANY TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE TRAINING. CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS: INADEQUATE COMPANY SUPERVISION DURING THE OPERATION, AND INADEQUATE SURVEILLANCE BY THE FAA WHICH FAILED TO DETECT THE INADEQUATE TRAINING OF THE PILOT.

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