NTSB Identification: LAX08CA054.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, January 29, 2008 in Brawley, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/2008
Aircraft: Bell OH-58A, registration: N902SF
Injuries: 1 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 pilot was spraying fields at night. He had just completed spraying a field and was climbing out to move to a second field when the helicopter collided with unmarked high tension electrical wires. He felt the impact and was momentarily blinded by the bright electrical flash. The pilot reported that the helicopter was out of control and after about 2 or 3 seconds, the helicopter impacted the ground. After impact, he unbuckled his seatbelt and exited the helicopter. He reported that the engine was still running and he continued to experience some blindness. The pilot walked a few steps away from the helicopter before his regained his vision. He looked back at the helicopter to make sure there was no fire, and then went back to it, and shut it down. The pilot stated that there were no preimpact mechanical problems with the helicopter. The pilot said he had been spraying in this area for years and was aware of the general location of the power lines in the area.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from obstacles. A factor in the accident was the dark night conditions.

Full narrative available

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