NTSB Identification: CHI04LA079.
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Accident occurred Saturday, February 28, 2004 in Burlington, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/01/2004
Aircraft: Robinson R44, registration: N7184G
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 helicopter sustained substantial damage when it impacted the ground after contacting a power line and pole during takeoff. The pilot's accident report stated, "I cleared the area did a slow vertical liftoff and a left pedal turn. I was instantly in the wires which were [approximately] 10-12 [feet] north of depot and [approximately] 14-15 [feet] high. Obviously I didn't see the wires and have never seen wires that close to a fuel depot. ... The tail rotor got in the wires first and actually 'reeled' me backwards into the pole. Then the main rotor made contact. Then we hit the ground. It took me a few seconds to kill the engine as we were being bounced around so violently." His safety recommendation was, "The wires should at the very least been marked or identified in some way. (sign, placard) Most importantly they shouldn't have been so close to fuel depot 15-20 [feet] or so low. They should have been underground."

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

The pilot's inadequate visual lookout and his failure to obtain/maintain clearance from the transmission wire during the takeoff. Factors contributing to the accident were the transmission wire and the pole.

Full narrative available

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