NTSB Identification: FTW99LA191.
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Accident occurred Friday, July 16, 1999 in BASTROP, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/22/2000
Aircraft: Bell OH-58A, registration: N9254R
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 experienced a total loss of engine power due to a contaminated fuel system. Days prior to the accident flight, the refueling truck had been contaminated with water, and the accident helicopter had been filled with the contaminated fuel. The pilot and ground crew became aware of the situation and sumped both the truck and the helicopter. The pilot thought that the helicopter's fuel system was free of the contaminated fuel. During the accident flight, the engine lost power, the pilot initiated an autorotation, and the helicopter impacted pine trees. The FAA inspector observed water and algae in the helicopter's fuel filters. The operator stated that the refueling truck's water filter failed to separate the water from the fuel during the fueling operations. After the accident, the operator installed water/fuel separators in all the refueling trucks in addition to the filters that were already in place as an extra measure of safety.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The failure of the refueling truck's filter to separate water resulting in the water contamination in the helicopter's fuel system and subsequent loss of engine power. A factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing. Full narrative available
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