NTSB Identification: LAX90DXQ04.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 42853.
Accident occurred Monday, August 13, 1990 in BIEBER, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/08/1992
Aircraft: BELL UH-1B, registration: N64789
Injuries: 1 Serious.

THE PILOT WAS FLYING A FIRE FIGHTING MISSION AND WAS APPROACHING SOUTHERLY ASCENDING TERRAIN FROM THE EAST. THE AIRCRAFT APPROACHED THE TERRAIN AND SLOWED TO MAKE A WATER DROP. AS IT SLOWED THE TAIL TURNED TO THE LEFT AND THE HELICOPTER LOST ALTITUDE AND SETTLED INTO THE TREES. THE PILOT HEARD THE LOW RPM AUDIO AND SAW THE LOW RPM WARNING LIGHT. HE ATTEMPTED TO RELEASE THE WATER LOAD. EXAMINATION OF THE ENGINE AND ENGINE COMPONENTS REVEALED NO EVIDENCE OF A MALFUNCTION OR FAILURE. THE TEMPERATURE REPORTEDLY WAS BETWEEN 82 TO 86 DEGREES F WITH THE WIND FROM THE NORTH AT 5 TO 8 KNOTS.

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

THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN AIRCRAFT CONTROL WHEN INTENTIONALLY SLOWING HIS AIRCRAFT TO OFF LOAD WATER ON FIRE. CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO ARM AND RELEASE THE EXTERNAL LOAD.

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