NTSB Identification: FTW00LA181.
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Accident occurred Monday, June 19, 2000 in DEVILLE, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/10/2001
Aircraft: Bell 206B, registration: N2277T
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The helicopter was equipped with a carousel that had 4 electric release hooks under a 100-foot long line. Four cache bags of equipment were hooked to the carousel. The pilot proceeded to the first location, released one bag and moved to another location for the next drop. He released the next hook but noticed that as he lifted the remaining load, the bag had not released. He reset the hook sequencer and attempted a release with more weight on the hook(s); however, no bag released. He lowered the 100-foot long line onto the ground so he could 'examine the carousel for an electrical disconnection or perhaps [a] bag strap hang up.' While at a low hover, with the helicopter facing into the wind, the pilot moved the helicopter laterally from left to right toward the carousel. The pilot was concerned with maintaining tail rotor clearance with the rotor wash blown cotton crop. Therefore, he was looking back out the open door when the helicopter's right skid contacted one or more of the cache bags, which were extending above the cotton plants. Subsequently, the helicopter rolled over onto its right side.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain clearance with the external load that was setting on the ground while hovering. A contributing factor was the pilot's diverted attention.

Full narrative available

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