NTSB Identification: SEA99LA098.
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Accident occurred Thursday, June 10, 1999 in PENDLETON, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/17/2001
Aircraft: Bell 47G3B2A, registration: N24MP
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 helicopter was applying dry fertilizer from an external bucket. While taking off after refilling the bucket, the external load cable became entangled in the auger of the fertilizer truck. The pilot reported he then attempted to release the load, but the quick-disconnect hydraulic lines would not release. In the process of attempting to get the helicopter to the ground, the helicopter suffered a blade strike and impacted the ground. The pilot reported the hydraulic lines were routed over the skid or cross tube, as opposed to down the release hook and cable. The hydraulic lines were approved for a spray system installation installed per FAA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) on the helicopter in 1993; however, the operator furnished no substantiation of FAA approval of the external bucket installation, and no record of FAA approval of the bucket installation on the helicopter was on file with the FAA.

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

A fouled external load cable, and the pilot's operation of the helicopter with a non-approved external bucket installation, resulting in misrouted hydraulic lines and consequent malfunction of the external load release system.

Full narrative available

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