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On July 24, 2005, about 1200 EDT, a Brantly B2B helicopter, N9023M, registered to and operated by a private individual, as a Title 14 CFR 91 personal flight, crashed in Ft. Pierce, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The commercial-rated pilot did not receive any injuries, and the helicopter incurred substantial damage. The flight originated from a private field in Fort Pierce, Florida, the same day, at about 1145.
The pilot stated that he departed from his private field, and climbed to an altitude of 1,000 feet. While in cruise flight at 1,000 feet, he said the engine "detorqued or coughed" two times in quick succession, and on the second "cough" the engine ceased operating. He said he immediately lowered the collective and entered autorotation, noting that there was a subdivision of houses, and a field with trees in the vicinity. The pilot said he affected an autorotative landing to the field, and during the landing the helicopter was damaged. The pilot later stated in a written narrative that this flight began with approximately twenty-five gallons of 100 octane low lead aircraft fuel and that he had done a thorough preflight.
The FAA inspector who responded to the accident stated that he along with an FAA licensed airframe and powerplant mechanic examined the helicopter at the scene. He further stated that there were no visible signs or smell of fuel at the scene, and that they observed a blue gummy substance on the exterior of the sump drain. When the sump drains were opened, about a cup of aviation fuel was recovered.
August 09, 2005, an FAA inspector along with representatives from Brantly Helicopters Inc., and Textron Lycoming Engines, examined the accident helicopter at the Brantly Helicopter facility in Vernon, Texas. The follow-on examination revealed no anomalies with the airframe and flight controls. The detailed examination of the engine revealed no evidence of fuel or contamination in the helicopters' fuel system. During the course of the examination the gascolator was examined and the lines to the fuel boost pump as well as the inlet line to the engine fuel distribution valve were examined. In addition, the inlet line to the fuel injector unit and the inlet screen to the fuel injector unit were examined.
After the detailed examination, fuel was added to the helicopter, and a "test run" of the engine was performed. The engine commenced operating on the second attempt and no anomalies were found to exist with the engine.