On October 13, 1994, at 0540 Pacific daylight time, a Hiller UH- 12E helicopter, N145HA, collided with the ground following a loss of control during an aerial application operation at Salinas, California. The helicopter was owned and operated by Helicair AG, Inc., of Salinas, California, and was applying chemicals under 14 CFR Part 137 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The helicopter was destroyed in the collision sequence and postcrash fire. The certificated commercial pilot, the sole occupant, sustained serious injuries. The flight originated at the Salinas airport on the morning of the accident at 0530 as a local aerial application flight.

According to the operator, this was the first flight of the day for the helicopter. A ground loader crewman was watching the application run and reported that he saw white sparks and a fire in the area of the engine, then the helicopter began to spin and fell to the ground. A fire then enveloped the aircraft.

An inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) responded to the accident site and examined the helicopter. He reported that drive system continuity was established throughout the aircraft, and that all rotating components of the main and tail rotor systems were accounted for in the wreckage. He stated that he observed no obvious evidence of broken or severed oil or fuel lines in the engine compartment area.

Under the direction of the National Transportation Safety Board, a technical representative from Textron Lycoming Engines examined the powerplant. He reported that the accessory section, all accessories, the carburetors, magnetos, pumps, and engine compartment fuel and oil lines were completely melted. The number 2 cylinder head sustained extreme heat distress with partial melting of the head noted. The valves, valve springs, rocker arms, and valve seats for the number 2 cylinder head were

present in the remains of the head. The representative noted that he found no evidence of an internal catastrophic failure.

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