NTSB Identification: LAX89LA270.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 42412.
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 09, 1989 in BAKERSFIELD, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/09/1992
Aircraft: BELL 206B, registration: N90296
Injuries: 2 Serious,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 HELICOPTER CREW WAS FILMING A COGENERATION PLANT. THE HELICOPTER ORBITED THE PLANT THREE TIMES. DURING THE THIRD ORBIT, THE HELICOPTER PASSED OVER THE EXHAUST CHIMNEY OF THE PLANT WHICH WAS OPERATING AT THE TIME. THERE WAS NO VISIBLE INDICATION THAT EXHAUST GASES WERE EMANATING FROM THE CHIMNEY. THE GASES WERE REPORTED TO BE 350 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT WITH A 3.6 PERCENT OXYGEN CONTENT. THE HELICOPTER TURBOSHAFT ENGINE LOST POWER OVER THE CENTER OF THE CHIMNEY. THE PILOT ENTERED AUTOROTATION TOWARDS AN OPEN AREA OF A PARKING LOT. DURING THE FLARE, THE HELICOPTER STRUCK A VEHICLE, AND LANDED HARD, SEVERED THE TAILBOOM, AND ROLLED ON TO ITS SIDE. THE CERTIFICATION STANDARD FOR THE ENGINE WAS 120 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT.

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

THE LOSS OF ENGINE POWER DUE TO THE HELICOPTER BEING FLOWN IN EXHAUST GASES EMANATING FROM A COGENERATION PLANT CHIMNEY STACK THAT EXCEEDED THE CERTIFICATION STANDARDS OF THE POWERPLANT. CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS INVISIBLE NATURE OF THE EXHAUST GASES WHICH MADE THE DETECTION OF THEIR PRESENCE UNLIKELY.

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