NTSB Identification: WPR10LA446
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 03, 2010 in Salinas, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/19/2011
Aircraft: BELL 47G, registration: N4427F
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.

After taking off on a visual flight rules flight in instrument meterological conditions, with a reported 2 1/2 miles visibility with mist and overcast clouds at 100 feet, the pilot proceeded westbound about 50 feet above ground level (agl) then, while approaching an interstate highway, climbed to 100 feet agl in order to avoid power lines. During the climb, the helicopter entered the fog. The pilot stated that after entering the fog he turned on the landing light, which blinded him and caused him to become disoriented as he attempted to make a 180-degree turn back to the airport. The pilot added that he subsequently lost control of the helicopter and impacted a highway guardrail with the tail section of the helicopter. The helicopter then came to rest inverted and partially in the southbound lane of the highway. The pilot reported no helicopter mechanical failures or malfunctions. A truck driver who witnessed the accident reported that the forward visibility was about 250 feet at the time of the accident.

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

The pilot's visual flight rules flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in his spatial disorientation and loss of helicopter control.

Full narrative available

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