NTSB Identification: MIA04LA129.
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Accident occurred Saturday, September 25, 2004 in Starkville, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2005
Aircraft: Bell 206B3, registration: N96PH
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 stated that he was en route, at an altitude of about 100 feet AGL, when all of a sudden he saw the low engine rpm light illuminate, and heard the associated audible alarm as the engine ceased operating. He said he immediately lowered the collective and raised the nose of the helicopter to regain rotor rpm, and made a hard autorotative landing to a clearing. An FAA inspector who responded to the accident scene stated that during the course of the postcrash examination he found fuel in the fuel tank. and upon further examination, found that the fuel filter was found to contain "50 percent dark colored water and trash", According to the inspector, dark water was found in the fuel pump filter, and the fuel tank, and in addition, the fuel control filter and fuel nozzle filter was partially clogged. Laboratory analysis of samples of fuel found in the accident helicopter confirmed the presence of particulate matter and water in the samples. According to the laboratory report, the particulate matter was determined to be microbiological growth that was resident in the fuel.

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

The operator's inadequate maintenance inspections and the pilot's inadequate preflight inspection, which resulted in the helicopter being operated with a contaminated fuel system, that resulted in fuel starvation, and the loss of engine power.

Full narrative available

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