NTSB Identification: DFW05LA239.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, September 07, 2005 in New Orleans, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/28/2006
Aircraft: Bell 206B, registration: N230CA
Injuries: 2 Minor,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 514-hour commercial pilot was conducting a photo mission with three passengers onboard in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. While orbiting a neighborhood at an altitude of approximately 500 feet above ground level at 40 knots, the helicopter suddenly pitched-up and entered an uncommanded right spin. The pilot applied left anti-torque pedal, but there was no response. He then lowered the nose and followed the right turn. In an attempt to stop the rotation, the pilot lowered the collective and this appeared to help. But then the pilot saw a row of power lines in front of him, so he pulled back on the cyclic and up on the collective to clear them. The helicopter subsequently turned 180 degrees and impacted the roof of a house, where it came to rest. The pilot and the passengers reported that a military Black Hawk helicopter was hovering above them as they exited the helicopter, and assisted in their recovery. The operator was concerned that the Black Hawk's proximity to the helicopter may have caused excessive downwash, which resulted in a loss of tail rotor effectiveness. However, the pilot said that he had seen many military helicopters operating in the area and was unable to confirm that the Black Hawk had contributed to the accident and was unsure as to what caused the loss of tail rotor effectiveness.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain directional control after encountering a loss of tail rotor effectiveness. A contributing factor was the lack of suitable terrain.

Full narrative available

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