NTSB Identification: WPR11LA356
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 25, 2011 in Brewster, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/20/2012
Aircraft: SIKORSKY S-55B, registration: N855TC
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The helicopter pilot was conducting a low-level flight over orchards for the purpose of drying cherry trees. The orchard was bordered by a series of power lines, and a gusting, variable wind was present at the time of the flight. During a low hovering pass over the orchard, a gust of wind pushed the helicopter toward power lines. In an attempt to avoid the power lines, the pilot increased collective pitch, and the helicopter began to climb. During the climb, the main rotor rpm decayed and the nose of the helicopter yawed to the right. The pilot lowered the collective and increased the engine power in an effort to regain main rotor rpm; however, the helicopter descended into the orchard. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operations, and that the accident could have been prevented if the flight had been conducted after the wind diminished.

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

The pilot did not maintain main rotor rpm while hovering in gusting wind conditions.

Full narrative available

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