NTSB Identification: SEA00LA103.
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Accident occurred Thursday, June 08, 2000 in KENNEWICK, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/18/2001
Aircraft: Enstrom F-28C, registration: N80193
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 hovering over a cherry orchard to dry the cherries with its rotor wash. The aircraft occupants initially reported that while hovering over the cherry trees at 5 to 7 feet above the treetops, the helicopter began to lose power, and that the pilot attempted to land the helicopter in an open field east of the orchard but was unable to make the field. The helicopter landed in between the rows of cherry trees and was substantially damaged. According to an FAA inspector, the pilot later concluded that he had maneuvered the helicopter into a downwind position and had approached the hovering capability of the helicopter. The date of issue of the pilot's commercial pilot certificate was 3 1/2 months before the accident; according to the FAA, he had 400 hours total time. The FAA inspector stated that the pilot demonstrated a lack of experience in operating the helicopter at the critical hovering altitude necessary to conduct the kind of operation he was attempting.

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

The pilot's exceedance of the helicopter's hovering capabilities in a downwind hover. Factors included tailwind conditions, the pilot's lack of experience in the type of operation being conducted, and trees in the area where the helicopter settled.

Full narrative available

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