NTSB Identification: ATL05FA038
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 05, 2005 in Falkner, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2005
Aircraft: Aerospatiale AS350-D, registration: N350RM
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The helicopter collided with trees and the ground while flying level with rising terrain during low cloud and low visibility condition. The pilot had earlier flown to a highway accident site in order to transport injured persons to the hospital. During the attempted loading of the injured persons, the chin bubble of the helicopter was damaged, and consequently the flight was canceled. The injured persons were ground transported by ambulance. A mechanic was dispatched to the site and he encountered moderate rain and gusty winds while en route. The mechanic made a temporary repair to the damaged area of the helicopter. According to the mechanic, the pilot indicated the site was a flood area and with a forecast of more rain, he preferred to move the helicopter. The mechanic suggested to the pilot that he relocate the aircraft locally to a school or hospital after first hovering after lift off and evaluating the weather. The mechanic would then drive the pilot from the relocation site to the destination. The pilot did not acknowledge his suggestion and made a walk-around inspection of the helicopter, and checked his flight charts for obstructions. The pilot started the helicopter and departed. There is no record that the pilot obtained a weather briefing by radio or by cell phone before departing the accident site. The wreckage was located the following morning. Doxylamine, a sedating over-the-counter antihistamine used in sleep aids and multi-symptom cold relievers, was found in the pilot's blood on toxicological examination. Pseudoephedrine, a decongestant available in many multi-symptom cold relievers, was also found in the pilot's blood.

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

The pilot's improper decision to attempt VFR flight into known instrument flight conditions and failure to maintain altitude clearance resulted in an in-flight collision with trees and the ground.

Full narrative available

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