On October 3, 1997, at 1500 hours Pacific daylight time, a Bell 47G-2, N2483B, experienced a loss of engine power and struck the tail boom during a forced landing onto uneven terrain at a golf course 4 miles south of the Burbank, California, airport. The aircraft sustained substantial damage, and the pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed along the route of flight and no flight plan was filed. The personal flight originated at the Long Beach, California, airport at 1440, and was en route to Burbank at the time of the accident. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In a telephone interview, the pilot noticed an increase in the rate of fuel consumption. He reported that the engine started to sputter then stopped completely. The pilot entered into an autorotation and landed on a golf course. The tail rotor blades then made contact with the ground. The tail boom was bent and the fuselage frame distorted.
According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector from the Van Nuys, California, Flight Standards District Office, the pilot initially reported to him that he had run out of fuel. Later, the pilot rescinded his statement about running out of fuel and instead showed the inspector some metal chips that he said he had found in the fuel strainer. In his written accident report, the pilot stated that he departed the Long Beach airport with 15 gallons of fuel onboard. The unusable fuel in the tanks is 2 gallons.
The pilot expressed to the Safety Board that because of a previous dispute with the FAA, he did not want them present during the investigation and subsequently moved the helicopter to a location he refused to disclose. By the time the Safety Board had ascertained the location of the helicopter, the airframe and engine had been disassembled for repair. No further examination of the aircraft was possible.
Review of the FAA Aircraft Registry files for the helicopter discloses that a Restricted Airworthiness Certificate was issued on April 4, 1978, for agriculture and pest control. The airframe and engine had recently been rebuilt by the pilot's father about 6 months prior to the accident.