NTSB Identification: DEN02TA100.
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Accident occurred Monday, August 26, 2002 in Saguache, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/01/2003
Aircraft: Bell 206L-3, registration: N801HM
Injuries: 1 Serious,3 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

The pilot said that smoke coming from the forest fire indicated winds were from the east. He approached the fire from the north, circled in a counterclockwise direction, and began his approach to the landing zone from the west. On approach, the helicopter lost tail rotor effectiveness and spun to the right. A firefighter on the scene recorded the wind from the southwest at 15 knots, but this information was not relayed to the pilot. The helicopter was not equipped with a high altitude tail rotor kit.

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

the pilot's inadequate in-flight planning and decision making, and the loss of tail rotor effectiveness. A contributing factor was the right quartering tailwind.

Full narrative available

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