NTSB Identification: WPR09CA163
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, March 24, 2009 in Chowchilla, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/11/2009
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R22 BETA, registration: N139RJ
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 helicopter was flying over an agricultural field at dawn performing frost control. He flew three passes over the field at a low altitude in order to distribute warm air onto the crops. During the passes, he observed power lines in the vicinity. On the fourth pass he descended to about 50 feet agl and lost sight of the power lines. Concerned that he may collide with them, he began to turn right. Halfway through the turn the main rotor blades struck the power lines. The helicopter descended to the ground, sustaining substantial damage to the fuselage and rotor system. The pilot said that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from the power lines.

Full narrative available

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