NTSB Identification: ATL90FA075.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 43218.
Accident occurred Friday, March 09, 1990 in CROSS, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/14/1992
Aircraft: SIKORSKY HSS-1N, registration: N4875M
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 PILOT HAD COMPLETED ABOUT ONE HOUR OF LOGGING AND WAS EN ROUTE TO THE REFUELING POINT. THE ENGINE QUIT WHEN THE HELICOPTER WAS ABOUT 200 FT OVER A WOODED AREA. WITNESSES OBSERVED THE HELICOPTER IN A NOSE HIGH ATTITUDE, FOLLOWED BY SLOWING OF THE MAIN ROTOR BLADES. ONE WITNESS RECALLED THE HELICOPTER ROTATED ABOUT 180 DEG BEFORE COLLIDING WITH TREES. THE PILOT WAS REMOVED FROM THE HELICOPTER BEFORE IT BURST INTO FLAMES & WAS DESTROYED. BEFORE THE PILOT DIED, HE REPORTED THE FUEL GAGE WAS INDICATING BETWEEN 100 AND 200 LBS BEFORE IT CRASHED. AN EXAM OF THE HELICOPTER FAILED TO REVEAL ANY PREIMPACT MECHANICAL PROBLEMS. THE OPERATING POLICY WAS TO REFUEL WITH 800 POUNDS OF FUEL PLUS 200 POUNDS AS A SAFETY NET. AT 200 FT AGL, A FORWARD SPEED OF OVER 48 MPH WOULD HAVE BEEN NEEDED TO BE OUT OF THE SHADED AREA OF THE HEIGHT-VELOCITY CHART FOR THIS HELICOPTER.

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

IMPROPER PLANNING/DECISION BY THE PILOT, WHICH RESULTED IN FUEL EXHAUSTION DUE TO AN INADEQUATE SUPPLY OF FUEL, AND HIS FAILURE TO FLY THE HELICOPTER IN SUCH A MANNER THAT WOULD HAVE ASSURED SUFFICIENT ROTOR RPM FOR AN AUTOROTATION.

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