NTSB Identification: CEN12LA669
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 30, 2012 in Nocona, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/27/2013
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R44, registration: N8341W
Injuries: 2 Minor,1 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 noncertificated pilot was flying the helicopter at an altitude of 40 to 50 feet. The pilot commented to the passengers that he was concerned about the amount of fuel remaining onboard, then the helicopter impacted the water. Although the pilot reported a flashing light on the control panel and a buzzer indicating there was a problem with the helicopter, neither passenger reported seeing any warning lights or hearing any alarms before the impact. According to Robinson Helicopters, the aural warning is loud enough that anyone in the helicopter would hear it. A postaccident inspection revealed that both fuel tanks were empty but it could not be determined if the fuel lines were intact. Both passengers reported drinking alcohol prior to the accident and the passengers provided conflicting reports to local authorities as to whether the pilot had consumed alcohol prior to the flight. The pilot was taken to his father’s residence immediately following the accident, prior to the arrival of local authorities. The pilot subsequently refused to speak with the local authorities when they arrived at the residence. Multiple cans and bottles of beer were recovered from the accident site. The pilot’s attorney reported that there was no reason to believe there was a failure or malfunction of the helicopter airframe or its engine prior to the impact.

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

The noncertificated pilot’s operation of the helicopter, which resulted in impact with the water.

Full narrative available

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