NTSB Identification: NYC00LA263.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, September 13, 2000 in NORTH ARLINGTON, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/17/2001
Aircraft: Bell 206B, registration: N3298G
Injuries: 1 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 pilot had completed an aerial application, and was returning to a private helipad. About 40-60 feet agl, a warning light momentarily illuminated. The pilot attempted to divert to an airport where maintenance facilities were available, but the engine lost all power. The pilot autorotated to a field, and damaged the main rotor blades and tailboom. Examination of the helicopter by a FAA inspector revealed that the fuel gauge displayed 'E' and 5-7 gallons of fuel was present in the fuel tank. In addition, the operator had reported that and electrical connector had failed in one of the fuel boost pumps. According to a representative from the helicopter manufacturer, the make and model helicopter burned about 25 gallons of fuel per hour. Review of the helicopter manual revealed, 'Due to possible fuel sloshing in unusual attitudes or out of trim conditions and one or both fuel boost pumps inoperative, the unusable fuel is ten gallons.' Review of FAR 91.151(b) revealed, 'No person may begin a flight in a rotorcraft under VFR conditions unless (considering wind and forecast weather conditions) there is enough fuel to fly to the first point of intended landing and, assuming normal cruising speed, to fly after that for at least 20 minutes.'

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

The pilot's improper decision to fly with an insufficient fuel quantity. A factor in the accident was the failure of the fuel boost pump.

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