NTSB Identification: FTW01FA021.
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Accident occurred Thursday, November 16, 2000 in HOUSTON, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/26/2002
Aircraft: Eurocopter AS350B2, registration: N126TV
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The turbine powered helicopter was on a 29 nautical mile night flight over a city. Two law enforcement officers, located about two blocks northeast of the accident site, reported observing the helicopter "flying at a very low altitude" northbound. The officers walked around the building to a parking lot where they met another officer. All three officers heard the helicopter fly over the parking lot in a southwest direction. The officers looked for the helicopter, but they could not see it due to the poor visibility. When the helicopter came into view, it was "banked to the right" traveling in a westerly direction. The helicopter continued in a downward direction, and then a "huge fireball" was observed. The helicopter struck wires, a power pole and an above ground gas meter. An electrical transformer exploded, and the helicopter was consumed by the ensuing fire. The destination airport had IFR weather conditions at the time of departure. Witnesses estimated that at the time of the accident, there was an overcast ceiling of about 300-400 feet. No record was found of any preflight weather briefing obtained by the pilot. No pre-impact anomalies were observed during an examination of the airframe and engine.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain obstacle clearance while maneuvering, which resulted in an in-flight collision with objects. Contributing factors were the dark night and low ceilings.

Full narrative available

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