FTW02LA186
FTW02LA186

On June 23, 2002, at 1130 central daylight time, a Bell 47G4 helicopter, N62446, was destroyed when it impacted terrain following a loss of control while hovering near Grand Lake, Louisiana. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Deep South Helicopters, Inc., Jennings, Louisiana. The commercial pilot and one passenger received minor injuries, and one passenger was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 observation flight, which was originating from an open field at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed.

According to the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2), and in a telephone interview with the NTSB investigator-in-charge, the pilot reported that he had just finished spray operations. The pilot then repositioned the helicopter to an open field prior to picking up two passengers he would take to survey the area he had just sprayed for them. The pilot occupied the left seat, one passenger occupied the center seat, and the remaining passenger occupied the right seat. As the helicopter was equipped with dual controls, the pilot cautioned both passengers "not to touch anything." The pilot reported that as he brought the helicopter to a hover, approximately 6 to 12 inches off the ground, the helicopter tilted forward "due to the forward center of gravity condition." The pilot added aft cyclic to counter the forward center of gravity condition; however, the helicopter continued to tilt forward. The pilot stated that "as I tried to add more aft cyclic, I felt the cyclic bind up and couldn't move it aft any further." He then lowered collective in an attempt to land, but the helicopter "tilted to the right." The right skid "dug" into the ground, and the helicopter experienced a dynamic rollover, coming to rest on its right side where it caught fire and was destroyed.

An FAA inspector, who traveled to the accident site, reported that control continuity could not be established due to the helicopter being destroyed by thermal and impact damage.

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