LAX96LA194
LAX96LA194

On February 6, 1996, at 1145 hours Pacific standard time, a Bell 206B, N16726, operated by West Coast Helicopters, Inc., descended into terrain while maneuvering during a photographic assignment at the Coyote Dry Lake, about 15 nautical miles north of Barstow, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed. The helicopter was substantially damaged, and neither the commercial pilot nor the two passengers were injured. The flight originated from the Coyote Dry Lake at 1115.

According to the pilot, during the flight a producer occupied the helicopter's left front seat, and a cameraman occupied the right rear seat. The purpose of the flight was to film a car commercial. The pilot stated that he initially was flying between 50 and 100 feet above ground level.

The pilot reported that when the accident sequence began he was flying between 40 and 50 knots, and was maneuvering in a right orbit around a forward moving car. When the orbit was about 1/2 completed and he was starting to come up behind the car, the helicopter entered a nose low descent. The pilot further reported that he was unable to arrest the descent utilizing full aft cyclic and full engine power. The helicopter contacted the ground in a nose low attitude with little forward airspeed.

At the time, the local wind was less than 5 knots. The pilot stated that no mechanical malfunctions were experienced with the helicopter.

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