NTSB Identification: SEA02LA075.
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Accident occurred Saturday, April 20, 2002 in Hot Springs, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/24/2002
Aircraft: Enstrom F-28C, registration: N51769
Injuries: 3 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 was taking off in variable winds in a helicopter that was near its maximum certified gross weight. Just as the aircraft started to move forward out of a hover, the wind shifted from a headwind to a tailwind gust. The pilot was unable to adequately compensate for the unfavorable wind change, and the helicopter impacted the terrain with sufficient force for the main rotor to come in contact with the tail boom.

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

The pilot's failure to adequately compensate for unfavorable wind conditions. Factors include unfavorable/shifting winds, and a tailwind gust.

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