NTSB Identification: LAX02LA169.
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Accident occurred Sunday, May 19, 2002 in STOCKTON, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/02/2004
Aircraft: Enstrom F-28C, registration: N51716
Injuries: 1 Serious.
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 the takeoff sequence, a gust of wind pushed the helicopter into a water tower near the refueling pad. The pilot had been drying trees in an orchard and landed in a parking lot to refuel. During takeoff from the parking lot, the main rotor blades struck the tank and the helicopter fell to the ground. It impacted in a flat attitude before rolling onto its side. Rain accumulation had reduced the pilot's visibility through the windshield. The pilot was not able to attain any visual cues on the wind velocity and directional information from inside the helicopter. High obstructions surrounded the takeoff area and were located within 15 feet of the rotor diameter.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain an adequate clearance from the water tower during takeoff. Also causal was the pilot's selection of a confined area for the landing and subsequent takeoff. Full narrative available
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