NTSB Identification: SEA03LA019.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 17, 2002 in Loon Lake, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/23/2003
Aircraft: Eurocopter Deutschland EC-135 P1, registration: N311MS
Injuries: 4 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 pilot reported that when he departed Colville, the weather was mostly clear with a visibility of more than 10 miles. He stated that as the helicopter approached the area around Loon Lake (approximately 30 miles southeast of Colville) they encountered heavy snow showers. The pilot further stated that, "While attempting to slow the helicopter and either turn around or make a precautionary landing on a road (Hwy 395) the helicopter entered a high rate of descent. I ended up making a hard landing on Hwy 395 in pretty much a complete white out." The aviation area forecast (FA) issued at 1945 PST on December 17, valid during the accident time frame, reported widely scattered snow showers East of the Cascades, to include Northeastern Washington. The pilot reported that he obtained a weather briefing via the Data Transmission Network (DTN) prior to the flight from Spokane.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's inadvertent flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) while in cruise flight, and an excessive descent rate. Factors include falling snow, whiteout conditions and dark night conditions. Full narrative available
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