NTSB Identification: MIA01TA121.
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Accident occurred Thursday, April 12, 2001 in Panama City, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/27/2001
Aircraft: Bell OH-58C, registration: N91335
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

The pilot stated that the first flight departed at 1915 to spray chemical for mosquitoes but returned due to plugged spray nozzles that he noted midpoint of the second spray pass. Without securing the engine, the plugged nozzles were replaced and the flight departed to again spray chemical. After takeoff while flying about 200-250 feet above ground level (agl) at an indicated airspeed of 30-40 knots, with a 10-15 knot wind from the southeast, he began a left turn to line up for his spray swath. The helicopter yawed 20-30 degrees to the right which could not be corrected with full left anti-torque pedal input. He lowered the collective in an attempt to recover but with insufficient altitude, the helicopter collided with trees then the ground. He further stated that there was no engine or flight control malfunction and the right yaw is a characteristic of "loss of tail rotor effectiveness."

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

The poor in-flight planning by the pilot for failure to maintain adequate airspeed while maneuvering to begin spray operations resulting in the loss of tail rotor effectiveness, subsequent in flight loss of control, and in flight collision with terrain.

Full narrative available

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