NTSB Identification: LAX07TA001.
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Accident occurred Sunday, October 01, 2006 in Ojai, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/30/2007
Aircraft: Erickson S64E, registration: N189AC
Injuries: 2 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

The helicopter snorkel snagged on a dip tank and the pilot-in-command (PIC) lost control of the helicopter during a retardant dropping mission. The tank and the snorkel screen fitting both contained 90-degree edges, which allowed them to catch on one another, once they came into contact. These abrupt edges may have increased the likelihood of a snagged condition during flight. The PIC was positioning the helicopter into a second tank and the snorkel became caught on the tank. The PIC applied power and shortly thereafter, the helicopter impacted the ground on its right side. Normal procedures following a caught snorkel are to slowly maneuver the helicopter until the snag becomes free. The PIC had reported 1,620 hours of pilot-in-command (PIC) time in helicopters on his application.

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

The pilot-in-command's improper remedial action, which resulted in a loss of helicopter control. Contributing factors were the retardant tank and snorkel designs.

Full narrative available

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