FTW00LA181
FTW00LA181

On June 19, 2000, at 0945 central daylight time, a Bell 206B helicopter, N2277T, was substantially damaged when it rolled over while hovering near Deville, Louisiana. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Carisch Helicopters, Inc., of Bozeman, Montana. The commercial pilot, sole occupant, sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a company flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 133 external load flight. The local flight originated from a staging area approximately five minutes prior to the accident.

The helicopter was equipped with a carousel that had 4 electric release hooks under a 100-foot long line. Four cache bags of equipment were hooked to the carousel. The pilot proceeded to the first drop location, released one bag and moved to another location for the next drop. He released the next hook but noticed that as he lifted the remaining load, the bag had not released. He reset the hook sequencer and attempted a release with more weight on the hook(s); however, no bag released. He lowered the 100-foot long line onto the ground so he could "examine the carousel for an electrical disconnection or perhaps [a] bag strap hang up." While at a low hover, with the helicopter facing into the wind, the pilot moved the helicopter laterally from left to right toward the carousel. The pilot was concerned with maintaining tail rotor clearance with the rotor wash blown cotton crop. Therefore, he was looking back out the open door when the helicopter's right skid contacted one or more of the cache bags, which were extending above the cotton plants. Subsequently, the helicopter rolled over onto its right side.

An examination of the helicopter by the FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, revealed that the main rotor had separated from its mast, and the tailboom and both skids were damaged.

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