NTSB Identification: FTW03LA013.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, October 15, 2002 in San Antonio, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/13/2003
Aircraft: Schweizer 269C-1, registration: N61463
Injuries: 2 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 purpose of the flight was to provide night VFR cross-country navigation instruction to the student. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and student discussed the low fuel status while over flying one of the en route airports; however, elected to not refuel because neither pilot had a credit card. Subsequently, the helicopter's amber colored low fuel warning light illuminated, and a few minutes later the engine lost total power. An autorotation was performed, during which the helicopter impacted trees and landed hard. The CFI stated that a flight navigation log sheet was not used for the flight; however, during his preflight planning he estimated that the fuel burn rate was 10 gallons per hour at a cruise airspeed of 85 knots, and that the total fight time was going to be 90 minutes. According to an FAA inspector the normal plan cruise airspeed for this helicopter is 70 knots.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the flight instructor's failure to refuel at an available airport when a low fuel status was identified. Factors were the flight instructor's inadequate preflight flight planning, which included improper fuel consumption calculations, the night light conditions, and the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing. Full narrative available
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