NTSB Identification: FTW02FA099.
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Accident occurred Saturday, March 23, 2002 in Eugene Isld 188, GM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2003
Aircraft: Bell 206L-4, registration: N7077B
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot was repositioning the helicopter from an offshore helideck in order to allow another helicopter to land at the platform and refuel. As the helicopter lifted off of the deck, the pilot lost control. The helicopter impacted the safety fence and fell 161 feet to the water and sank. A pilot who had landed prior to the accident, reported that he had observed the rear and right front tie down straps of the accident aircraft were removed; however, he did not notice if the left front tie down was still attached to the helicopter. An examination of the offshore oil pumping station revealed that the right front and rear tie down straps were in a metal storage basket located on the edge of the helideck. The left front tie down strap was fully extended and still attached to its tie down point, and laying randomly on the helideck and the damaged safety fence. The left forward tie down fitting that is normally attached to the bottom of the fuselage underneath the copilot's seat was missing and never found. The three insert fittings of this tie down were pulled out of the honeycomb panel in a manner consistent with a relatively vertical pull. The examination of the tie down strap did not reveal any definitive damage that would indicate that it was subjected to overload. The hydraulic pump, when tested, produced correct pressure and fluid flow. The hydraulic switch in the cockpit was found in the "ON" position. Flight control continuity was established. The helicopter was at a gross weight of 3,866 pounds, and its center-of-gravity (CG) was within the allowable CG limits

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

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control during takeoff. A contributing factor was the pilot's inadequate preflight which resulted in his failure to remove the left front tie down.

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