NTSB Identification: LAX08CA229.
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Accident occurred Monday, July 14, 2008 in Shafter, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/28/2008
Aircraft: Bell 47G-3B-1, registration: N1390X
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 reported that a few minutes after taking off for a nighttime agricultural spray flight over an alfalfa field, the ground illumination lights in his helicopter went out. At the time, he was descending and maneuvering close to the ground on a spray run. The pilot reported that he did not see the field before impacting it with the spray boom. The helicopter rolled over and was substantially damaged.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate altitude while maneuvering. Contributing factors were the failure of the helicopter's lights during the night flight and the effect of that failure on the pilot's visual perception.

Full narrative available

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