NTSB Identification: NYC05FA099.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, June 14, 2005 in New York, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2006
Aircraft: Bell 206L, registration: N78TD
Injuries: 1 Serious,6 Minor.

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 landed at the heliport with approximately 220 lbs. of fuel on board. At that time, the helicopter was oriented to north, with a light westerly wind. The helicopter was on the ground for 2 to 3 minutes while ground personnel boarded passengers for a sightseeing flight. The helicopter lifted up to a hover and initially turned left 90 degrees toward west, but the wind was from the northeast at approximately 5 knots. When the pilot realized the wind was from the other direction, he then turned right about 270 degrees. The pilot initiated a southeasterly takeoff run, oriented about a 160-degree heading. During the approximate 275-foot takeoff run, the skids contacted the ground at least once as the pilot attempted to increase forward speed. The pilot felt like the helicopter did not have full power during the takeoff run; however, the pilot and passengers did not recall any cockpit warnings or anomalies. The helicopter did not gain altitude as it neared the end of the heliport, and the tailrotor struck the edge of the pier as the helicopter descended towards the water. The helicopter subsequently impacted the water and rolled inverted. Examination of the helicopter did not reveal any pre-impact mechanical malfunctions. The pilot did not ask passengers their weight, and did not have a scale at the heliport. Rather, he estimated the weight and balance. For the accident flight, he estimated 150 lbs. per person, as there were three male passengers, and three female passengers. However, the average weight of the passengers was approximately 188 lbs. The weight of the occupants and the weight of the fuel revealed that the helicopter was about 222 lbs. overweight at the time of the accident; not including the weight of clothing, personal effects, and baggage. In addition to being over the maximum gross weight, the helicopter was at or beyond its performance limits for the environmental conditions, and the takeoff was attempted with a light left crosswind or quartering tailwind.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight planning, which resulted in an attempted takeoff with an overweight helicopter, and subsequent impact with a pier and water. Factors were a high ambient temperature and unfavorable winds.

Full narrative available

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