DFW05LA123
DFW05LA123

On May 18, 2005, approximately 0826 central daylight time, a Bell 206B turbine powered helicopter, N276M, was destroyed when it impacted terrain following a loss of control during takeoff near Huffman, Texas. The commercial pilot and two of the four passengers sustained serious injuries. The other two passengers received minor injuries. The helicopter was registered to Horizon Helicopters Inc., of Houston, Texas, and operated by Aerial Coalition Technologies, of Riverton, Wyoming. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 133 external load operations flight. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The 1,181-hour pilot reported in the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) that during the morning preflight, he did not notice any abnormalities with the helicopter. After the passengers stowed their equipment in the storage compartment, they boarded the helicopter. After receiving instructions from one of the passengers about the destination of the flight, the pilot lifted the helicopter to a three foot hover and "backed up approximately 10 feet." After performing a 90-degree pedal turn to the right, the pilot initiated takeoff. At an altitude of approximately 10-20 feet above ground level, the helicopter pitched nose down and impacted terrain.

According to information obtained by an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the site of the accident, the pilot reported to first responders that he had "forgot to unhook the drag line."

Examination of the helicopter by the inspector revealed that the nose area was crushed aft. The tail boom was separated, the main rotor blades damaged, and the transmission was separated from its mounts. A sling-cable that was about 160-feet long was found disconnected from the helicopter. A sling-cable basket was also found disconnected from the cable. Examination of the site revealed that the sling load basket snagged a flat-bed truck and moved it approximately five inches.

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