NTSB Identification: LAX89LA129.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 39328.
Accident occurred Monday, March 20, 1989 in SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/28/1991
Aircraft: HUGHES 269C, registration: N7470F
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE NEWLY PURCHASED HELICOPTER WAS TRANSPORTED TO SAIPAN BY SHIP IN A CONTAINER. AFTER UNLOADING, THE PILOT, A MECHANIC AND A MECHANIC'S HELPER REASSEMBLED IT ON THE DOCK. THE HELPER WAS SENT TO BUY SOME FUEL FOR THE HELICOPTER, SO IT COULD BE FLOWN FROM THE DOCK TO THE COMPANY BASE AT THE AIRPORT. THE COMPANY HAD BEEN OPERATING TURBINE POWERED HELICOPTERS ONLY; THIS WAS ITS FIRST PISTON POWERED MODEL. THE HELPER WENT TO THE FUEL FACILITY AND BOUGHT 10 GALLONS OF JET-A FUEL, WHICH HE USED TO SERVICE THE HELICOPTER. THE PILOT STARTED THE HELICOPTER, DID A RUN-UP AND TOOK OFF FOR A 3 MILE FLIGHT TO THE AIRPORT. HOWEVER, THE ENGINE LOST POWER AND THE PILOT MADE AN AUTOROTATION TO A SUBMERGED REEF IN ABOUT 3 TO 4 FEET OF WATER.

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

FAILURE OF MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL TO ASSURE THE HELICOPTER WAS SERVICED WITH THE PROPER GRADE OF FUEL. A FACTOR REALATED TO THE ACCIDENT WAS: THE LACK OF A SUITABLE LANDING AREA, WHICH RESULTED IN HAVING TO DITCH THE HELICOPTER IN THE WATER.

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