NTSB Identification: LAX06CA227.
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Accident occurred Friday, July 07, 2006 in Kihei, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/31/2006
Aircraft: Hughes 369D, registration: N611WA
Injuries: 3 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 helicopter's main rotor blades struck a tree while in a hover. The purpose of the flight was to conduct animal control. Once the animal had been identified and neutralized, the pilot was directed to remove the animal. He landed the helicopter near the animal, which was in a confined area with rolling terrain, thick low trees, high grass, and lava rock outcroppings. About 15 feet above the ground, the main rotor blades contacted a tree off to the right rear side of the helicopter. The pilot repositioned the helicopter about 100 feet to another landing site and landed normally. He reported the main rotor "blades strike" to the company and waited for the Director of Maintenance (DOM) to arrive and assess the damage to the main rotor blades. The DOM determined that the helicopter could be flown back to home base. After the helicopter returned to base, maintenance personnel removed and inspected the main rotor blades. All five of the main rotor blades sustained substantial structural damage. Maintenance personnel referenced the maintenance manual and determined that the dents/depressions in the main rotor blades were beyond serviceable limits and could not be repaired.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain an adequate clearance from obstructions, which led to a main rotor blade strike.

Full narrative available

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