NTSB Identification: DFW06CA112.
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Accident occurred Monday, May 01, 2006 in Vinita, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/31/2006
Aircraft: Bell 206B, registration: N342WC
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 164-hour private pilot reported that when the single-engine turbine powered helicopter was seven miles from the airport, the fuel boost pump caution light illuminated, and the fuel gauge was indicating approximately 15 gallons of fuel remaining. The pilot elected to continue to fly towards the airport; however, while on final approach the engine lost power. The pilot entered an autorotation, but due to his low altitude, he realized the descent angle would have placed the helicopter onto a busy four-lane highway. The pilot added that he increased the collective, which increased altitude, and he was able to cross over the highway and a fence; however, this maneuver reduced inertia in the main rotor system. As a result, the pilot flared over a wet, grassy field about 30 feet, leveled the helicopter and landed with some forward speed. During touchdown, the skids dug into the ground and the helicopter came to an abrupt stop, toppled over, and came to rest upside down. The tail boom separated and came to rest about 20 feet from the fuselage. Examination of the helicopter revealed there was no fuel in the fuel nozzle or in the external fuel filter. There was no indication of a fuel spill during the mishap sequence.

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

The pilot's improper pre-flight planning, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion. A contributing factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

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