NTSB Identification: SEA01LA173.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, September 25, 2001 in Bonners Ferry, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/20/2002
Aircraft: Kaman HH-43, registration: N55714
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During CFR Part 133 aero-logging operations in mountainous terrain, a loaded long-line became caught in some trees and separated from the helicopter. After the ground crew told the pilot what had happened, he began a hover over the site of the line separation, apparently to survey the situation. While in the hover, the pilot allowed the aircraft to move a short distance back and to the side. This put it into a position where its main rotor blades came in contact with a coniferous tree. Although the ground crew transmitted a warning to the pilot to power up and out of the trees, the rotor blades began coming apart before the pilot was able to take corrective action. Soon thereafter the helicopter collided with other trees, and fell to the ground in a nose down position.

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

The pilot's inadequate visual lookout which lead to his failure to maintain clearance from the nearby trees while in a high-hover. Factors include mountainous/hilly terrain, and tall trees in the area where the helicopter was hovering.

Full narrative available

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