NTSB Identification: NYC08LA028.
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Accident occurred Friday, November 09, 2007 in Morristown, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/30/2008
Aircraft: Bell 407, registration: N555BH
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

After arriving at the destination airport, the pilot taxied the helicopter to the fuel pumps. The pilot then realized that the fuel pumps were for aviation gasoline and not for jet fuel, so he advised the passengers that he would assist them in unloading, and then reposition the helicopter to the other fuel pump. After carrying the passengers' bags and using the restroom at the fixed base operator, the pilot returned to the helicopter. While walking toward the unoccupied helicopter, the pilot was struck by the idling main rotor. The helicopter's rotorcraft flight manual did not describe a procedure for the pilot to exit the helicopter while the engine and rotor continued to operate, but did state that during shutdown the pilot should, "Remain on the flight controls until the rotor has come to a complete stop." Additionally, post-accident examination of the helicopter revealed that the cyclic friction lock was not tightened, which contradicted with the flight manual's shutdown checklist. The substance found during the post-mortem toxicological testing of the pilot would not normally be expected to cause impairment of psychomotor or cognitive functions.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate clearance from the idling main rotor blade. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to comply with the manufacturer's procedure for securing the helicopter.

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