SEA97LA015
SEA97LA015

On October 16, 1996, approximately 1600 mountain daylight time, a Bell 206-BIII helicopter, N2762G, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing near Casper, Wyoming. The airline transport pilot, who was the sole occupant, was uninjured. The aircraft was operated by Bighorn Airways, and was on a positioning flight, operated under 14 CFR 91. The aircraft was on a flight from Rock Springs, Wyoming, to Sheridan, Wyoming. A company flight plan was filed for the flight. There was no fire, and no report of the ELT actuating.

The pilot stated that the engine flamed out. He made an autorotation to a county road. The right skid gear broke during a slide-on landing, and the aircraft rolled over on its right side. The pilot noted that he did not recall an audio warning, and the rpm had bled down before landing. He stated that he had made two earlier precautionary landings during the flight, due to the flight being conducted in visible precipitation. In both instances, he stated that he found no evidence of ice or snow buildup in the intake system. The engine was later removed and tested in a test cell, where it functioned normally. Sufficient fuel was found on board the aircraft.

FAA inspectors noted that the pilot had been operating at an airspeed and altitude that may have precluded a successful forced landing.

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