NTSB Identification: DEN02LA051.
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Accident occurred Monday, June 10, 2002 in Medicine Bow, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/06/2002
Aircraft: Enstrom F-28C, registration: N5694Z
Injuries: 1 Serious,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 reported that he was conducting pipeline patrol and marking the positions of pipeline valves using a global positioning satellite receiver. The pilot said weather was clear but windy. Approximately 1 hour into the flight, the pilot made a turn to the west to come around over a location, and continued in the turn back to the east downwind. The pilot said he rolled out of the turn and started to pull some power for the turn back to the right to pick up the pipeline again when the helicopter yawed right and started losing power. The pilot said he immediately "lowered the collective, added throttle, and turned left to the north." The pilot said he was approximately 100 feet above the ground and had an airspeed of about 60 miles per hour. "With the bank and the autorotation I was able to stop forward motion and ground speed. I flared the helicopter, pulled pitch, and hit flat." The pilot said he shut down the engine after impact. "As far as I could tell the power never came back during the autorotation." An examination of the helicopter's fuel system showed water in the left and right fuel tanks. No other anomalies were found.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the unsuitable terrain encountered during the emergency autorotation, following a partial loss of engine power. Factors contributing to this accident were fuel contamination (water), the low altitude, the high winds, and the tailwind.
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