NTSB Identification: LAX02LA295.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, September 25, 2002 in North Las Vegas, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/29/2004
Aircraft: Bell 206L-1, registration: N601GM
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 helicopter landed hard approximately 2 miles south of the destination airport following fuel exhaustion. The pilot arrived at the airport behind his intended schedule, and due to the delay, opted not to refuel the helicopter. He departed with 167 pounds of fuel onboard, equating to about 40 minutes of flight time, which he thought would be a sufficient amount for the flight. Upon arriving at his destination (a 3-minute flight), he was instructed to leave the helicopter running. When he decreased the throttle input, he disengaged the caution-panel circuit breaker in an effort to silence the low rotor rpm warning horn. He shut down the engine for a short break and then departed to go back to the airport. With the helicopter leveled off about 3,000 feet above ground level, he scanned the cockpit gauges and realized that he had not reset the panel circuit breaker. He pushed the breaker in and the low fuel light instantly illuminated, followed by the fuel boost warning lights. While the pilot was looking for suitable terrain to execute an emergency landing, the engine quit and he configured the helicopter in an autorotation. He flared about 18 feet above ground level and the helicopter fell to the ground. He input full collective prior to impact, but the helicopter touched down hard. The pilot stated that the helicopter's engine had quit due to fuel exhaustion.

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

the pilot's inadequate in-flight planning/decision, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and loss of engine power due to an inadequate fuel supply.

Full narrative available

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