NTSB Identification: FTW00LA105.
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Accident occurred Sunday, March 26, 2000 in NEW ULM, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/02/2001
Aircraft: Schweizer 300C, registration: N698SM
Injuries: 2 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 transporting a passenger to a remote site to change the batteries on a seismic recorder box. As the pilot terminated the landing approach to a hover at a skid height of 1 to 2 feet above the ground, an empty canvas heli-bag that was lying on the ground blew into the helicopter's main rotor system. The helicopter developed 'a severe' vibration, the main rotor system separated, and the helicopter impacted the ground in a 'moderately hard landing.' The operator stated that the accident could have been prevented by 'making sure that heli-bag is secure and that aircraft is a safe distance from bag and box.'

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

The pilot's inadequate in-flight evaluation of the landing area, which resulted in the separation of the main rotor system as a result of foreign object damage.

Full narrative available

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