NTSB Identification: NYC07CA070.
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Accident occurred Saturday, March 03, 2007 in Columbus, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/27/2007
Aircraft: Schweizer 269-C, registration: N515JM
Injuries: 1 Minor.
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 of the Schweizer 269-C reported that he diverted to an airport because of snow showers along his path of flight. After having lunch, the pilot decided to return to his home base instead of continuing to his originally-intended destination. Weather radar indicated snow showers and clear areas en route to the pilot's home base. After about 30 minutes of flight, snowfall intensity increased, and visibility was reduced to the point where the pilot became concerned that he could not see obstructions. The pilot then decided to land near a farm house. He circled the landing area, and then made an approach into the wind. As he "approached the hover, loose snow combined with the snow covered total white surface" caused him to lose ground contact. The helicopter touched down, and the pilot "suddenly" felt the main rotor blades impact the ground on the right side of the helicopter. Photographs of the landing area indicated a slight rise in elevation on the right side of the touchdown zone. According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, there were no preimpact mechanical anomalies, and the aft portion of the right landing skid had frozen dirt attached to it. The pilot did not indicate he had obtained a weather briefing.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's improper decision to continue the landing attempt in whiteout conditions, which resulted in his disorientation, and the helicopter's subsequent dynamic rollover. Factors included the whiteout conditions, and the pilot's inadequate weather evaluation. Full narrative available
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