NTSB Identification: SEA08LA035.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, November 21, 2007 in Newberg, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/30/2008
Aircraft: Schweizer 269C, registration: N61480
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 student pilot was initiating a cross-country flight. As the helicopter entered cruise flight, the student pilot intended to apply the cabin heater control; however, he inadvertently applied the fuel shut off control. Moments later, the engine lost power and the student pilot performed an autorotation and the helicopter landed hard. The student pilot had been training in two models of the same make of helicopter and heaters had been installed (supplemental type certificate) by the operator. The accident helicopter was flown from the left seat and the fuel shut off control was installed on the left side of the instrument panel, with the heater control on the far right side. The other helicopter was flown from the right seat with the fuel shut off control on the right side and the heater control to its left side. Pull-type knobs operate the heater and fuel shut off controls. The helicopter manufacturer offers the heater installation as an optional, after market installation, and its heater control is installed on the front of the center seat area and not on the instrument panel. The manufacturer's heater control is also operated using side-to-side motion for "ON" and "OFF" positions. No evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomalies was discovered.

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

The student pilot's inadvertent application of the fuel shut off valve during flight. Contributing to the accident were the locations of the heater and fuel shutoff controls.

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