NTSB Identification: FTW00FA091.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Friday, March 10, 2000 in DALHART, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/19/2001
Aircraft: Eurocopter BO105S-CBS-5, registration: N335T
Injuries: 4 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 aircraft accident report.
During dark night conditions, the helicopter was en route from its hospital base to another hospital to pick up a medical patient for transport back to the base hospital, when the pilot landed the helicopter 15 miles south of the destination hospital due to fog. The patient was transported via ambulance to the helicopter. After the patient was transferred to the helicopter, witnesses reported that the helicopter departed, with its lights on, and headed toward the south at an altitude between 10 and 75 feet agl. They reported the visibility as poor, about 1/4 mile, a very low ceiling, and extremely dense fog. One witness stated that it appeared as if the helicopter was 'trying to stay close to the ground and not get up into the heavy fog.' Examination of the accident site revealed that the helicopter impacted in a near 45 degree nose low attitude and the wreckage encompassed an area measuring 262 feet by 75 feet. A weather study revealed that the accident site was in area of low ceilings and fog, which was expanding to the south and west. According to documents provided by the operator, the pilot had accumulated a total of 44 simulated instrument flight hours and 1 hour of actual instrument flight experience. Examination of the helicopter revealed no evidence of an in-flight control or system malfunction, and examination of the engines revealed evidence of operation at the time of impact.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain control of the helicopter as a result of his continued flight into known adverse weather conditions. Factors were the dark night light condition, fog, low ceiling, and the pilot's lack of total instrument flight time. Full narrative available
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