NTSB Identification: ERA11CA080
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 08, 2010 in Canal Point, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/20/2011
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R44, registration: N451DB
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.
According to the pilot, at 0030 he was called to fly for the purpose of frost mitigation. At 0540, while flying over an agricultural field about 30 feet above ground level, he began his last pass over the field, and fell asleep. Subsequently, the helicopter impacted the ground and came to rest on its left side. He said that the previous day he awoke about 0700, and went on duty at 1800. About 1930, he flew the helicopter on a 1-hour flight and attempted to take a nap at 2100. The nap was interrupted with noise and lights constantly being turned on and off, and he accrued no more than 1 hour of rest. An examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed substantial damage to the fuselage, rotor system, and tail boom. There were no mechanical anomalies with the helicopter. At the time of the accident the pilot had no more than 1 hour of restless sleep in the previous 22 hours 40 minutes. He also reported that he did not normally fly at night.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: Pilot fatigue due to lack of sleep resulting in incapacitation (falling asleep) and ground contact while maneuvering at a low altitude. Full narrative available
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