NTSB Identification: ANC00LA053.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Monday, May 01, 2000 in HOMER, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2001
Aircraft: Bell 206B, registration: N301MH
Injuries: 3 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.

During an on-demand passenger flight, the airline transport certificated pilot was landing a helicopter at a lake gauging station. The gauging station was surrounded by snow-covered terrain. His two passengers were conducting snow pack studies around the lake. Flat light conditions existed at the lake, and light drizzle was falling. The pilot was utilizing the gauging station as his landing reference point, but during the landing approach, he flew past the station and had no other visual references. The skids of the helicopter contacted the snow, and the pilot applied upward collective pitch. He attempted to stabilize the helicopter in a hover, but began drifting forward and to the left. The left landing gear skid contacted the snow, and the helicopter rolled onto its left side. A passenger described the weather conditions at the landing site as the 'inside of a ping pong ball.' The pilot recommended additional white-out training as a way to prevent the accident.

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

The pilot's misjudging the landing flare in whiteout/flat light conditions. Factors associated with the accident are the whiteout and flat lighting conditions.

Full narrative available

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