NTSB Identification: SEA05CA173.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, August 16, 2005 in Donnelly, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/2005
Aircraft: Hughes 369E, registration: N500FU
Injuries: 4 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 said that he had landed at the site several times before, but that much construction work had been done since his last visit. He said that as he descended to his landing zone, the main rotor downwash from his helicopter created "brown-out" visibility conditions. He floated past his landing spot and the helicopter's main rotor struck a tree. The pilot said that pieces of the main blades subsequently damaged the vertical and horizontal stabilizer, and the tail rotor was damaged.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance of a tree during a landing attempt due to loss of visibility from a self induced brown-out condition. Contributing factors were the pilot's failure to identify a hazardous landing site, and the tree.

Full narrative available

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