NTSB Identification: DEN05LA053
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 29, 2005 in Pilar, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/03/2006
Aircraft: Eurocopter AS 350 B3, registration: N351LG
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 helicopter pilot was conducting a positioning flight in night visual meteorological conditions, wearing night vision goggles. He was following the road separating the place of departure and his destination. He could see the vehicle traffic and the surrounding terrain clearly. Approximately 15 minutes into the flight, he felt that something was wrong. The attitude indicator showed that the helicopter was in a 60-70 degree left descending turn. The altimeters and airspeed indicators showed the same trend. The pilot attempted to correct the flight attitude, but became disoriented. The helicopter impacted terrain and rolled onto its right side. A postimpact fire destroyed the helicopter.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's failure to maintain control of the helicopter, and his improper use of night vision goggles (NVG). Contributing factors were the pilot's spatial disorientation, his self-induced pressure to return the helicopter to its home base, his lack of experience in the use of NVG's, his use of exterior lights on a dark night light, under overcast skies, and against snow-covered terrain. Full narrative available
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