NTSB Identification: SEA90LA016.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 41189.
Accident occurred Wednesday, November 15, 1989 in ESTACADA, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/05/1991
Aircraft: HUGHES 269C, registration: N9592F
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 WAS BEING USE IN AN EXTERNAL LOAD OPN TO MOVE CHRISTMAS TREES FROM A FIELD TO A DROP ZONE (DZ) FOR LOADING ON A TRUCK. DURING AN APCH TO THE DZ, THE PLT DID NOT MAINTAIN SUFFICIENT ALTITUDE OR CLEARANCE TO KEEP THE LOAD CLEAR OF OBSTRUCTIONS. SUBSEQUENTLY, SHE LOST CONTROL OF THE HELICOPTER & IT TRAVELED 100 TO 200 FT BACKWARDS. IT THEN HIT THE GROUND TAIL 1ST, ROLLED OVER & WAS EXTENSIVELY DAMAGED. TREES WERE SCATTERED BETWEEN THE OBJECT & THE MAIN WRECKAGE. AN EXAM REVEALED THE PLT HAD ONLY A MANUAL MEANS OF RELEASING THE LOAD AT THE HELICOPTER. THE ELECTRICAL RELEASE SYS HAD BEEN REWIRED TO PROVIDE POWER TO THE BOTTOM HOOK ONLY. ONE OF THE GROUND PSNL RPRTD THE HOOK HAD BEEN MALFUNCTIONING. THE PLT HAD 5 HRS OF DUAL TIME & 8 HRS OF PLT-IN-COMMAND TIME IN EXTERNAL LOAD OPNS; HOWEVER, SHE DID NOT POSSESS THE REQUIRED LETTER OF COMPETENCY FOR THIS OPN.

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

THE PILOT MISJUDGED CLEARANCE BETWEEN HER EXTERNAL LOAD AND THE OBSTRUCTION. FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: THE OBSTRUCTION, IMPROPER MAINTENANCE AND MODIFICATION OF THE EXTERNAL LOAD LINE/HOOK BY THE OPERATOR, FAILURE OF THE PILOT TO JETTISON THE EXTERNAL LOAD, AND A FAILURE OF THE OPERATOR MANAGEMENT TO ASSURE THE PILOT HAD RECEIVED ADEQUATE TRAINING/CERTIFICATION.

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