NTSB Identification: CEN12CA435
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Monday, July 09, 2012 in Treynor, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/09/2012
Aircraft: BELL 47G-3B-2, registration: N2919W
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 performed a preflight inspection and noted that the 61-gallon fuel tank was just over a quarter full. After about 26 minutes of aerial application runs, the helicopter yawed left, and a warning light flickered. The pilot did not see which light had illuminated. Thinking it was a fuel problem, he checked the fuel quantity gauge, which read two needle-widths below a quarter tank. The pilot continued spraying, and several seconds later the turbine-engine stopped producing power. The pilot turned left and made an autorotation run-on landing to a field. After the helicopter came to a stop, the main rotor blades flexed downward and severed the tail boom. Approximately 1.75 gallons of fuel was drained from the two fuel tanks. The pilot reported that the usual fuel consumption was about 25 gallons per hour and the tanks had about 4 gallons of unusable fuel. The pilot said that there were no mechanical problems before the accident, and the engine was most likely starved of fuel due to the low fuel level and unusual attitudes inherent to helicopter aerial applications.

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

The pilot’s improper fuel management, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

Full narrative available

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