NTSB Identification: LAX00LA220.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 10, 2000 in WELLINGTON, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2004
Aircraft: Sikorsky HH-3F, registration: N500XL
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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 collided with trees when it made a forced landing under power. The helicopter was low and climbing over a ridge in mountainous terrain when it encountered wind shear and could not sustain flight. The pilot noticed a rapid airspeed fluctuation from 80 knots to 20 knots. He completed a systems check and saw the airspeed go to zero. The helicopter rapidly settled. The pilot lowered the collective, but the rpm began to seriously decay. He tried to regain rpm, but was unsuccessful. The helicopter continued to settle downhill into a canyon. The helicopter collided with trees at zero airspeed and 800-feet-per-minute rate of descent in the bottom of the canyon.

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

the pilot's encounter with a wind shear while maneuvering at low altitude in mountainous terrain, which resulted in a high descent rate and inadvertent entry into a power settling condition.

Full narrative available

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