NTSB Identification: LAX89FA092.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 41997.
Accident occurred Sunday, January 22, 1989 in SANTA BARBARA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/22/1992
Aircraft: ROBINSON R22A, registration: N8529C
Injuries: 2 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 HELICOPTER DEPARTED THE ARPT WITH VIS OF 4 MILES IN FOG. APPROACH CONTROL RADAR WAS OBSERVING THE HELICOPTER'S PROGRESS AND NOTED A 180 TURN WITH A DESCENT. THE ATCT ASKED THE PLT HIS INTENTIONS. THE PLT STATED HE PLANNED TO FOLLOW A HWY 2/10 OF A MILE NORTH OF THE APRT. WITNESSES IN ACCIDENT AREA DESCRIBED THE WEATHER AS SUNNY WITH COASTAL FOG. THE 1300 LB HELICOPTER STRUCK A 30,000 LB. TENSILE STRENGTH CABLE SEVERING IT. THE CABLE WAS SUSPENDED ACROSS A VALLEY IN MOUNTAINOUS-HILLY TERRAIN. IT WAS 294 FEET ABOVE THE CREEK AT THE HIGHEST POINT. 14 CFR PART 91.105, ALLOWS THE PLT TO OPERATE A HELICOPTER WHEN THE VISIBILITY IS LESS THAN ONE MILE 'IF OPERATED AT A SPEED THAT ALLOWS THE PILOT ADEQUATE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE ANY AIR TRAFFIC OR OBSTRUCTION IN TIME TO AVOID A COLLISION.'

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

FAILURE OF THE PILOT TO MAINTAIN ADEQUATE ALTITUDE, PROPER AIRSPEED FOR THE REDUCED VISIBILITY, AND AN ADEQUATE VISUAL OUTLOOK TO AVOID A COLLISION WITH POWER TRANSMISSION CABLE. CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS REDUCED VISIBILITY DUE TO FOG.

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