FTW01LA205
FTW01LA205

On September 8, 2001, approximately 1345 central daylight time, a Hughes 269C helicopter, N7472F, registered to and operated by Aero Management Inc., of Olton, Texas, was destroyed when it impacted terrain following a loss of engine power in the vicinity of Lubbock, Texas. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant of the helicopter, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight. The local flight originated from the Town and Country Airpark, Lubbock, Texas, at 1320.

The pilot reported that he saw smoke and felt heat in the cockpit which was followed by a loss of engine power while he was applying pesticides to a cotton field. In the enclosed NTSB Pilot/Operator Report, the pilot added that "the spray system broke, pumped chemicals into hot engine, causing fire and smoke which suffocated the engine and resulted in loss of engine power." A witness, who was driving in a truck next to the cotton field, reported that he observed the helicopter flying about 20-25 feet in the air when it "suddenly fell at a slight angle, fell from the sky, and hit the ground, sending white smoke and dust."

Several witnesses near the accident site reported smoke trailing from the engine compartment and 2 witnesses reported flames coming from the rear of the helicopter. Four witnesses provided written statements.

The wreckage of the helicopter was recovered to a secured location at the Town and Country Airport for a detailed examination under the supervision of an FAA inspector. No fuel or oil leaks were found. No evidence of an engine malfunction or powerplant anomalies were found. Fuel was found in the fuel cell. There was no evidence of a post-impact fire. Also, the FAA inspector who examined the wreckage did not find evidence of an in-flight fire on the airframe. However, components of the spray system showed some thermal damage. The reason for the loss of engine power was not conclusively determined.

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