NTSB Identification: MIA99FA158.
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Accident occurred Thursday, May 20, 1999 in INTERCESSION, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/22/2000
Aircraft: Hughes 369E, registration: N144CM
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 was hovering out of ground effect at about 75 feet above ground level adjacent to power lines to the left of the helicopter. The helicopter started to sink. He applied right antitorque pedal and the engine noise decreased. He moved the cyclic to the right, increased collective pitch to arrest the rate of descent, and the engine out audio activated. As soon as he cleared the power lines, he lowered the collective pitch to gain rotor rpm, and applied forward cyclic in an attempt to clear a tree to his front. He realized impact with the trees was imminent, and applied aft cyclic in an attempt to make a vertical descent. The helicopter collided with trees and terrain hard in a nose low left skid low attitude. Examination of the main fuel tank revealed the fuel tank was empty and not ruptured. The engine was removed, transported to the engine manufacturer, and placed in an engine test stand. The engine started, and obtained takeoff power, and all cruise power point specifications.

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

The pilot's improper fuel management that resulted in fuel exhaustion and a total loss of engine power.

Full narrative available

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