NTSB Identification: WPR11LA122
14 CFR Part 133: Rotorcraft Ext. Load
Accident occurred Friday, February 04, 2011 in Elverta, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/28/2012
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas Helicopters 369E (MD500E), registration: N416WC
Injuries: 2 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

A lineman was on the skid of the helicopter installing high-power electrical lines on a power line structure. The pilot positioned the helicopter about 30 to 50 feet from the structure. The main rotor blades made contact with an installation rope, which then wrapped around the mast as the blades pulled it in. The pilot lost control of the helicopter, and it began an uncontrolled descent to the ground. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. It is likely that the pilot misjudged the distance between the rotor blades and the installation rope.

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

The pilot did not maintain rotor blade clearance from an installation rope while maneuvering to install power lines.

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