NTSB Identification: FTW01LA004.
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Accident occurred Monday, October 02, 2000 in JASPER, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/08/2001
Aircraft: Bell 206-L1, registration: N321CA
Injuries: 1 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 pilot stated that he waited for the fog to lift, departed, and sprayed a field. The pilot then landed the helicopter to refuel prior to spraying another field located approximately 17 miles away. The pilot departed and was flying to the other field when he encountered IMC at a low altitude. The pilot initiated a turn to the left to exit IMC and attempted to cage his attitude indicator. During this time, the helicopter impacted a tree with its spray boom and the pilot then ascended into the fog. The pilot reported that the helicopter was difficult to control and he was having problems seeing the ground. The pilot reported to the ground crew that he was losing control of the helicopter and subsequently it impacted the trees. Witnesses, located approximately 50 yards from the accident site, stated that it was 'very foggy' at the time of the accident. The pilot had accumulated 10 hours of simulated instrument flying and no actual instrument flying experience. At the time of the accident, a weather observation facility located near the accident site reported the sky as overcast at 100 feet agl, with 1.25 statute miles visibility.

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

The pilot's inadvertent VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in his failure to maintain control of the helicopter. Factors were the fog and the pilot's lack of instrument flight experience.

Full narrative available

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