NTSB Identification: NYC02LA147.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR Standard Ag Helicopters Inc
Accident occurred Thursday, July 25, 2002 in Newfield, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/30/2003
Aircraft: Bell 206B, registration: C-GMLS
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 Bell 206B was involved in long line operations when the engine lost power. The pilot was operating over a wooded area at 20 mph, transitioning between two pickup areas located about 1,000 feet apart, with no suitable landing area nearby. The pilot stretched his glide to reach a suitable landing area, during which time, the main rotor rpm decayed. Touchdown was hard and the forward skid tube was spread while the rear skid tube penetrated the fuel tank. There was evidence of a limited fuel spill at the accident site. The pilot was operating with an intermittent fuel quantity measuring system, and dipping the tanks with a stick to determine fuel quantity. The helicopter was not equipped with a low fuel quantity light. According to Bell helicopters, use of a dip stick to measure fuel quantity is not an approved procedure. The operator reported that he had not received authority from Transport Canada, to operate with an inoperative fuel gauge, or to dip the tanks to determine fuel quantity. Refueling had been accomplished using an electric fuel pump powered by a battery installed in a truck.

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

The pilot's failure to verify the amount of fuel onboard prior to departure, which resulted in a power loss due to fuel exhaustion, and subsequent hard landing. A factor was the lack of a suitable landing area under the helicopter when the power loss occurred.

Full narrative available

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