NTSB Identification: FTW00LA206.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 16, 2000 in ALLEN, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/10/2001
Aircraft: Mbb BK-117-A3, registration: N312LS
Injuries: 3 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 commercial helicopter pilot terminated the night approach to a 6 to 8-foot hover, with 'trees and 2 post-box's to the right and a large ditch to the left.' The pilot hovered the helicopter sideways to the left to move away from the trees. He then started a left pedal turn to face EMS units located behind the helicopter. He had turned the helicopter approximately 120 degrees, 'when I moved backwards' and struck the trees with the tail rotor. He immediately stopped the turn and moved the helicopter forward before losing tail rotor control. As the helicopter began to spin, he 'lowered the collective and landed hard.' The tail rotor drive shaft forward of the 45 degree gearbox was sheared.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain obstacle clearance while hovering the helicopter. A contributing factor was the dark night light conditions.

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