NTSB Identification: WPR11CA394
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Sunday, July 31, 2011 in Porterville, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/17/2011
Aircraft: BELL 47G, registration: N6260C
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.

The pilot reported that during the agricultural operation he landed the helicopter into the wind to reload with fuel and agricultural chemicals. While the loader was mixing the chemicals, the pilot noted that the wind shifted to a tailwind condition. The pilot also noted that the rotor blades were dirty, but he forgot to clean them before departure. During the takeoff, the helicopter was unable to gain any lift and it started to sink back to the ground. The helicopter impacted the ground moments after takeoff with a slight nose low attitude which resulted in the skids collapsing and the main rotor blades contacting the tailboom. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe or the engine that would have precluded normal operation.

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

The pilot's decision to takeoff in a tailwind condition, and his subsequent failure to attain sufficient lift during the takeoff.

Full narrative available

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