NTSB Identification: WPR13FA080
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 02, 2013 in Delano, CA
Aircraft: BELL 206, registration: N828AC
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 January 2, 2013, about 0615 Pacific standard time, a Bell 206 helicopter, N828AC, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering southeast of the Delano Municipal Airport (DLO), Delano, California. The helicopter was registered to Maricopa Helicopter, LLC, Fresno, California, and operated by San Joaquin Helicopters under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant of the helicopter was fatally injured. Dark night conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from DLO about 0420 to perform frost protection on a field southeast of DLO.
The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) interviewed a pilot of a second helicopter, that was following the accident helicopter on a return flight to DLO. The pilot stated that they were returning to DLO due to accumulating fog over the field where they were working. The pilot stated that during that return flight, he saw the accident helicopter ahead of his position make a right turn and he asked the pilot if she was lost. The accident pilot responded that she thought she was, and the second pilot gave her directions to turn left in the direction of DLO. The pilot diverted his attention to reestablish visual contact with distant lights to his left and subsequently observed an orange glow within the fog layer ahead of his position.
Examination of the accident site by the NTSB IIC revealed that the helicopter impacted terrain about 4 miles southeast of DLO. The wreckage debris path was about 90-feet in length and oriented on a heading of about 040 degrees magnetic. A post-impact fire consumed a majority of the fuselage. All major structural components of the helicopter were located throughout the wreckage debris path. The wreckage was relocated to a secure facility for further examination.
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