NTSB Identification: LAX02LA178.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, May 28, 2002 in Meadview, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/24/2002
Aircraft: Bell 206L-1, registration: N1075S
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 said that prior to impact, the helicopter was operating normally but he could not recall details. One witness said the helicopter descended along the canyon wall at an altitude of 40 to 50 feet, and slowed its descent as it made a course reversal towards the landing zone. The nose "dipped," then rose, and the tail boom struck the ground and separated, and the helicopter began to "spin out of control." Another witness saw the helicopter "twisting in a horizontal plane, i.e. the tail swinging from side to side" just before impact. A third witness, a helicopter pilot, said the wind was light and variable as he heard rotor blade "slap," and knew the helicopter was in a turn. He then heard the sound of impact. According to the company's loader, there was no change in the engine or rotor sounds prior to the tailboom striking "a small incline of a hill." Postaccident examination disclosed no evidence of mechanical malfunction.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain distance and altitude during landing approach, resulting in the helicopter striking the ground during approach.

Full narrative available

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