NTSB Identification: FTW01FA069.
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Accident occurred Thursday, February 15, 2001 in Borger, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/20/2002
Aircraft: Robinson R-22 BETA, registration: N4002M
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 non-instrument rated private pilots did not obtain a weather briefing or file a flight plan for the night cross-country flight. During dark night conditions, a witness observed the helicopter descending from the clouds following a highway. The helicopter appeared to be at a height just above a 285-foot tall radio tower. Approximately 5 miles south of the radio tower, the helicopter struck an electrical pole, impacted terrain, and came to rest adjacent to an oil pump jack. A weather study revealed that the accident site was in an area of low ceilings and restricted visibility. During examination of the helicopter, no anomalies were found with the engine or airframe that would have precluded normal flight operations.

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

the pilot's inadvertent flight into instrument meteorological conditions and failure to maintain obstacle clearance. Contributing factors were the pilot's failure to obtain an updated preflight weather briefing and the dark night conditions.

Full narrative available

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