ATL97LA139
ATL97LA139

On September 20, 1997, about 1632 eastern daylight time, a Bell 47G-2, N90485, struck power lines during an autorotation, in McGee, Mississippi. The helicopter was owned by Pegasus Aircraft Leasing, Inc., and operated by the commercial pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions existed, and no flight plan was filed for the local, sightseeing flight. The pilot and two passengers were not injured, and the helicopter was substantially damaged.

According to the pilot, he was circling over the house of the passengers at about a 50 degree bank when the engine quit. He said he immediately executed an autorotation and attempted a restart. The engine was cranking but failed to start. The pilot stated he headed for a hay field and was turning past some trees when he saw a utility pole and wires. While attempting to climb over the wires, the tail boom struck the wire. The pilot said he felt the controls shudder and the helicopter banked to the left. At about 20 feet above the ground the helicopter leveled and landed in the hay field.

According to a passenger, the pilot indicated that he had 1/8 tank of fuel and was planning on refueling after the flight. The passenger said the pilot believed he had about 15 minutes of fuel on board with 5 minutes of time remaining on the flight.

The Deputy Sheriff who arrived at the scene stated he checked the fuel by placing a stick in the fuel tanks. The right fuel tank showed 1/8 of an inch of fuel and the left tank showed 4 inches of fuel. According to the pilot, the helicopter was in a nose down attitude due to damage to the landing gear. The helicopter holds 43 gallon of fuel with 2 gallons unusable fuel.

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