NTSB Identification: CHI88DET05.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 40181.
Accident occurred Friday, August 05, 1988 in DOWAGIAC, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/1990
Aircraft: BELL 47J, registration: N2838B
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

THE PRIVATE PILOT WITH AN AIRPLANE SINGLE ENGINE LAND RATING WAS REPORTED TO BE ON HIS FIRST SELF-FAMILIARIZATION FLIGHT IN THIS MAKE & MODEL OF HELICOPTER. HE REPORTED THAT AFTER TAKING OFF, HE FLEW ABOUT 1/2 MILE & STARTED A TURN, THEN THE ENGINE BEGAN LOSING POWER. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE HELICOPTER SETTLED INTO TREES AND WAS DAMAGED. THERE WERE INDICATIONS THAT THE ENGINE WAS STILL PROVIDING POWER AS THE MAIN ROTOR BLADES CONTACTED SMALL TREES DURING THE LANDING. AN INVESTIGATION REVEALED THE LAST ANNUAL INSPECTION WAS DATED 8/22/85. RAT NEST MATERIAL WAS FOUND IN THE AIR FILTER IN SUFFICIENT QUANTITY TO ALMOST COMPLETELY BLOCK THE FLOW OF AIR. ALSO, THE PILOT'S LAST MEDICAL CERTIFICATE WAS DATED 1/2/86. AUTO FUEL WAS FOUND IN THE FUEL TANKS & CARBURETOR.

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

FAILURE TO MAINTIAN ADEQUATE ROTOR RPM BY THE UNQUALIFIED PILOT.

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