LAX02LA295
LAX02LA295

On September 25, 2002, about 0815 Pacific daylight time, a Bell 206L-1, N601GM, experienced a hard landing approximately 2 miles south of the North Las Vegas Airport, North Las Vegas, Nevada. Silver State Helicopters was operating the helicopter under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured; the helicopter sustained substantial damage. The local flight departed a parking lot about 5 miles from the North Las Vegas Airport at an unknown time. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed.

In a written statement, the pilot reported that the purpose of the flight was for the helicopter to be photographed for advertising purposes. The pilot arrived at the North Las Vegas Airport behind his intended schedule, and due to the delay, opted not to refuel the helicopter. He departed with 167 pounds of fuel onboard, equating to about 40 minutes of flight time, which he thought would be a sufficient amount for the flight. Upon arriving at his destination (a 3-minute flight), he was instructed to leave the helicopter running. When he decreased the throttle input, he disengaged the caution-panel circuit breaker in an effort to silence the low rotor rpm warning horn. Under the instruction of the photographers, he preformed several maneuvers and shut down the helicopter.

The pilot further stated that after a short break, he started the helicopter again and completed a few more maneuvers before departing back to the North Las Vegas Airport. While approaching the airport, with the helicopter leveled off about 3,000 feet above ground level, the pilot scanned the cockpit gauges and realized that he had not reset the panel circuit breaker. He pushed the breaker in and the low fuel light instantly illuminated, followed by the fuel boost warning lights. While the pilot was looking for suitable terrain to execute an emergency landing, the engine quit and he configured the helicopter in an autorotation.

After clearing power lines, the pilot maneuvered the helicopter to the furthest point east of the proposed landing area. He flared about 18 feet above ground level and the helicopter fell to the ground. He input full collective prior to impact, but the helicopter touched down hard. As a result of the impact, the helicopter incurred damage to the tail boom and skids.

A Federal Aviation Administration maintenance inspector recalled examining the helicopter after the accident occurred. Examination of the fuel system indicated that no fuel was being picked up by the pump, and no fuel remained in the firewall-mounted main fuel filter. He further stated that the pilot had reported that the helicopter's engine had quit due to fuel exhaustion.

The pilot failed to file or return a Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report, NTSB Form 6120.1/2.

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