NTSB Identification: MIA05CA134.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, July 12, 2005 in San Juan, PR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2005
Aircraft: Bell 206B, registration: N27VT
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 pilot stated that earlier in the morning he flew with an individual for 1/2 hour, and following that flight secured the engine and waited for approximately 1 hour to allow the engine to cool down. Following that time, he started the engine in order to relocate the helicopter to the south side of the airport. While air taxiing, he suddenly saw the boost pump caution light illuminate followed by the engine out light and low rpm warning lights. He performed an autorotation on the south taxiway. According to the passenger, while flying 10 feet above ground level the engine seemed to start losing power. The pilot maneuvered the helicopter into the wind while descending, and further reported that when the helicopter contacted the ground, the main rotor blade contacted the tailboom causing separation of it. The pilot then secured the helicopter and asked if he was OK. Both exited the helicopter, and rescue personnel assisted them promptly. The passenger also stated that the total flight time was approximately 20-30 seconds, and at no time did he perceive any visual or audio alarms, but he is not familiar with the helicopter or its systems. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector-in-charge (IIC) who examined the accident site and helicopter, and also talked with the pilot, the pilot reported to him that the purpose of the flight was to reposition the helicopter for fuel. The pilot reported to the FAA-IIC that during his preflight inspection, the fuel gauge indicated greater than 10 gallons of fuel. Postaccident examination of the helicopter revealed less than one ounce of fuel was drained from the fuel tank, and approximately 1 liter of fuel was drained from the fuel filter canister. The fuel quantity gauge was tested and was found to indicate correct when fuel was added in five gallon increments; a total of 15 gallons were added during the test.

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

The inadequate preflight/planning by the pilot for his initiation of the flight with inadequate fuel supply, and his failure to maintain main rotor rpm following a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion which resulted in a hard landing.

Full narrative available

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