NTSB Identification: ATL05CA003.
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Accident occurred Thursday, October 14, 2004 in Eutaw, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/24/2005
Aircraft: Bell 206 B, registration: N300HT
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The helicopter was conducting a spraying operation in a wooded area in Eutaw, Alabama. The helicopter was refueling for 10-15 minute flights. After the helicopter refueled it departed the staging area, and did not return after 20 minutes. An aerial and ground search was initiated, and the downed helicopter was located approximately three hours after the initial search. Fueling records are not documented by the operator. The pilot did not report any mechanical malfunctions with the helicopter prior to the accident. Examination of the accident site revealed the helicopter lying on its left side. Further examination of the helicopter revealed that the main rotor blades were broken off of the main rotor head, and the fuselage was buckled. During the preparation for a functional check of the engine, fuel was poured into the main fuel tank. After pouring about one gallon fuel into the main tank, an undetermined small amount of jet fuel leaked out of the bottom of the fuel tank. An external source of jet fuel was attached to the engine fuel system and the engine was started and, a functional engine run was accomplished up to 65% power for five minutes. Both the oil and engine temperature instruments were in the normal operating range during the engine run. No mechanical anomalies were found during the engine run.

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

The pilots inadequate preflight planning of fuel required for the flight that resulted in fuel exhaustion and the subsequent loss of engine power.

Full narrative available

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