NTSB Identification: ANC00TA039.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 29, 2000 in MANOKOTAK, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2001
Aircraft: Bell 206B, registration: N5006R
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

The airline transport certificated helicopter pilot was transporting a radio technician from a remote radio repeater site as part of a government contract with the U.S. Coast Guard. After departing the repeater site, the pilot was in cruise flight about 500 feet above the ground. The weather conditions were 700 feet overcast, with a visibility of 1 to 2 miles. Snow squalls were moving through the area. The pilot said he was maintaining his visual reference to the ground by using terrain features while flying over a flat, snow-covered delta. Just before the accident, the pilot said he was utilizing a line of shrubs as a point of visual reference, but he could not see any additional visual cues beyond the line of shrubs. He decided to turn around and began a right turn. During the turn, he said he lost all visual references to the ground. He looked at the helicopter's attitude indicator, and noticed he was in a 45 degree right bank, and a 10 degree nose low attitude. He leveled the helicopter and applied collective pitch to begin a climb. The helicopter then collided with the snow. During the collision, the landing gear skids were torn off the fuselage, the main rotor blades separated from the rotor mast, and the tail boom was severed. The helicopter came to rest on its right side. The helicopter was not equipped with a radar altimeter.

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

The pilot's continued VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions. Factors in the accident were low ceilings and snow, and snow-covered terrain.

Full narrative available

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