NTSB Identification: DEN01LA150.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, August 21, 2001 in Tucumcari, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/16/2003
Aircraft: Hughes 269C, registration: N502AA
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The pilot stated that he flew for approximately one hour looking for stray cattle on his ranch. He was continuing his search on a mesa ridge when he noticed that the helicopter was losing altitude. The main rotor blades bean impacted 10 to 15 foot high cedars, and the helicopter rolled to the right and impacted the ground. The density altitude was calculated to be approximately 7,938 feet, and the out of ground effect hover capability of the helicopter with these weather conditions was calculated to be 5,200 feet.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: failure of the pilot-in-command to maintain adequate terrain clearance. Contributing factors were the unsuccessful low altitude flight maneuver, and the high density altitude weather conditions.
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