NTSB Identification: DEN01LA060.
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Accident occurred Friday, March 02, 2001 in Jackson, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/30/2001
Aircraft: Bell 407, registration: N9HE
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.
The pilot of the helicopter was looking for a group of people to be picked up at a designated point. Flying over the location, he realized that they had not yet arrived, so he decided to land at an alternate location and await their arrival. He had landed at the alternate location previously but not on the day of the accident. He said the visibility was good, but there were no shadows due to the overcast. The approach was normal, and the pilot used a small pine tree to the right front quarter of the helicopter as a reference point. As the helicopter touched down, the pilot heard a loud noise and the helicopter yawed. Believing there had been a mechanical failure, the pilot lowered the collective control and closed the throttle. Postaccident inspection revealed there had not been a mechanical failure. Rather, the pilot had not seen the snow covered slope to the left front quarter of the helicopter. The main rotor blades struck the surface of the ground and the helicopter settled into deep snow. The transmission separated from its mounts, the main rotor blades were destroyed, and the tail boom was severed.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain adequate lateral and vertical clearance during landing. Factors were the clouds and snow-covered high terrain. Full narrative available
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