NTSB Identification: ANC04LA027.
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Accident occurred Sunday, February 22, 2004 in Bradenton, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/28/2004
Aircraft: Hiller UH-12B, registration: N5304V
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 airline transport pilot was on a solo cross-country helicopter flight as part of a helicopter add-on rating. He reported that he thought that there was enough fuel for about 1.7 hours of flight time, but after only 1.5 hours of flight time, as the flight neared the destination heliport, the engine began to run rough and lose power. He said that he lowered the helicopter's collective and entered an autorotation, and selected an unoccupied playground as an emergency landing site. As the helicopter descended into the playground area, he had to raise the collective to avoid a stand of trees, and the main rotor speed decayed. The helicopter's skids subsequently struck the ground hard, and the helicopter rolled onto its right side. The helicopter sustained structural damage to the fuselage, tail boom, and main rotor drive system. The pilot noted that there were no preaccident mechanical anomalies with the helicopter. An FAA inspector who inspected the helicopter and spoke with the pilot, noted that the helicopter's fuel tank appeared empty, and stated that that the pilot agreed with him.
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. Also causal was the pilot's failure to maintain adequate rotor speed, resulting in a hard landing. Full narrative available
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