NTSB Identification: MIA01LA055.
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Accident occurred Friday, January 05, 2001 in Cleveland, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/30/2001
Aircraft: Hiller UH-12E, registration: N112EC
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the pilot, the externally slung, hydraulically operated fertilizer bucket stopped dispensing. With no ground handling crewman available, the pilot set the rotorcraft down to troubleshoot the problem. With engine rpm near maximum to run the hydraulic pump to its maximum output, the pilot climbed out of the left seat, onto the left skid to read the externally mounted hydraulic pressure gage. While egressing the cockpit, the pilot accidentally bumped the collective control to the "increase rotor pitch" position, and the rotorcraft became airborne without him aboard. The rotorcraft climbed to about 500 feet agl, in circling flight until the loaded fertilizer bucket began swinging in ever-divergent oscillations causing rotorcraft instability and eventual main rotor-to-boom strike and crash.

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

The PIC's failure to follow safe operating procedures for the maintenance of the rotorcraft's external aerial application equipment, resulting in inadvertent activation of collective as he egressed the rotorcraft, causing unmanned flight, in-flight break-up, and collision with terrain.

Full narrative available

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