NTSB Identification: SEA01LA118.
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Accident occurred Monday, June 11, 2001 in Canby, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/18/2002
Aircraft: Hughes 369D, registration: N69PE
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

During a maintenance test flight, the pilot reported that while performing blade tracking procedures, a rotor droop was noticed followed by engine rpm decay. The pilot tried to increase engine power, however, the engine did not respond. During the autorotation, beginning at about 450 feet AGL, the helicopter landed hard. The main rotors subsequently contacted and severed the tail boom. Inspection of the engine revealed that the fuel nozzle filter was found to be completely covered with a dark green/brown colored substance and was collapsed. The fuel filter bowl was removed and a volume of water was present in the fuel that was drained from the filter bowl. Samples were taken and analyzed. The analysis "strongly indicated water contamination and possible fungal or bacteria growth in the fuel supply." The pilot reported that the fuel supplier and mobile pick-up truck all had filtering devices. The helicopter was not equipped with an external airframe mounted filter.

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

Fuel starvation as a result of a collapsed fuel nozzle filter screen. Contamination that blocked the fuel nozzle screen and water contamination were factors.

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