NTSB Identification: WPR14FA203
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 23, 2014 in Santa Paula, CA
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R22 BETA, registration: N4081H
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 May 23, 2014, about 1030 Pacific daylight time, a Robinson Helicopter R22 Beta, N4081H, was substantially damaged when it impacted power lines and terrain while maneuvering west of the Santa Paula Airport (SZP) Santa Paula, California. The commercial pilot was the sole occupant of the helicopter and was fatally injured. The helicopter was registered to Sierra Flite, LLC, Camden, Delaware, and operated by Channel Islands Helicopters, LLC, Oxnard, California, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from Oxnard Airport (OXR) Oxnard, California at about 0930.

According to representative from Channel Islands Helicopters, the pilot departed OXR after refueling and flew to Camarillo and then to SZP. The pilot was building flight time towards his rotorcraft commercial rating.

A witness, who lived near the accident site, saw the helicopter flying in a northeasterly direction paralleling her property. The helicopter was below the tree line on the opposite side of the riverbed and was descending. The witness stated that the helicopter sounded normal but was unusually loud because it was so close. Shortly after losing sight of the helicopter, she heard two loud "pops."

Examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) revealed that the helicopter impacted power lines and terrain about 1 and 1/2 miles west of SZP. The three phase overhead distribution power lines were separated directly over the accident site. These lines were supported by two wooden H-frame pole assemblies at a distance of about 1,000 feet from each other. The separated power lines were found in the surrounding bamboo vegetation and trees adjacent to the riverbed. Near the northern positioned H-frame, small spot fires were reported in the surrounding vegetation.

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