NTSB Identification: CEN13FA003
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 05, 2012 in Intracoastal City, LA
Aircraft: Bell 407, registration: N406AL
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 5, 2012, about 0758 central daylight time, a Bell 407 helicopter, N406AL, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain shortly after takeoff from Central Industries Airport (2LA0), near Intracoastal City, Louisiana. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Bristow US LLC, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 while on a company flight plan. Day instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the post-maintenance flight that was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the operator, the pilot was performing the post-maintenance flight to identify if there was any residual oil left behind during a routine phase check that had been completed the previous evening. At 0756, the pilot sent an electronic message to the company’s flight-following center located in New Iberia, Louisiana, to activate his local flight plan. He reported having 1 hour of fuel on-board. Several witnesses reported seeing the helicopter startup and enter a low altitude hover over the landing pad before it hover-taxied toward runway 24. One witness reported that she saw the helicopter depart on the runway heading and disappear into fog or a low cloud ceiling. Several witnesses reported hearing a sound consistent with a ground impact shortly after the helicopter had departed toward the southwest.

Another operator based at 2LA0 reported that one of their helicopters had departed about 16 minutes before the time of the accident. The pilot of that helicopter reported that during departure he was able to see down the entire length of the airstrip (3,100 feet by 75 feet). However, after climbing above the surrounding tree line he observed ground fog, approximately 75-100 feet thick, immediately adjacent to the east side of the airbase near the Bristow facility. He reported that as he continued toward his planned destination, toward the west, there were no visibility restrictions.

The closest weather observing station was located at the Abbeville Chris Crusta Memorial Airport (KIYA), about 13.6 miles north-northeast of the departure airstrip. At 0755, the KIYA automated surface observing system reported the following weather conditions: calm wind, visibility 1/4 mile with fog, overcast ceiling 200 feet above ground level, temperature 20 degrees Celsius, dew point 20 degrees Celsius, altimeter setting 30.14 inches of mercury.

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