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On May 28, 2006, at 1515 eastern daylight time, a Hughes 269A, N69HU, received substantial damage when it impacted a road after hitting a static power line wire that was about 52 feet above the ground during cruise flight near Berlin Center, Ohio. The private pilot received fatal injuries. The 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight was observed over-flying a parade route prior to the impact with the power line. The departure time and location were unknown; however, the pilot operated the helicopter from a hangar located at his residence. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was filed.
Witnesses reported that the helicopter was flying westbound over the middle of State Route (SR) 224. The helicopter was observed flying straight and level at a low altitude, just above treetop level. One witness reported that the helicopter was flying at treetop level for about 1,000 feet to 1/2 mile before the accident. Another witness reported the helicopter's nose was "slightly down and he [the pilot] was waving to the people. He must have noticed the wire because I saw him pull up. That's when I think his left skid caught the wire." The witness reported, "His landing skid caught the top neutral wire that crosses SR224 going north and south." The helicopter rotated upside down and impacted the middle of the road.
The pilot held a private pilot's certificate with a helicopter rating. He held a third-class medical certificate. During his last medical examination in February 2006, the pilot reported that his total flight time was 300 hours.
The helicopter was a Hughes 269A, serial number 67-16815. It seated three and had a maximum gross weight of 1,550 pounds. The engine was a 205 horsepower Lycoming HIO-360 series engine. The last annual inspection was conducted on May 12, 2006, and the helicopter had a total time of 12,236 hours.
At 1851, the observed weather at Youngstown (YNG), Ohio, located about 25 miles to the northeast, was: winds calm, visibility 10 statute miles, broken 25,000, temperature 28 degrees Celcius (C), dew point 14 degrees C, altimeter 30.17 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the helicopter on-site. The inspector reported that there were impact marks on the left and right skids, and on the front cross tube that were consistent with impact with a cable. There were no pre-impact deficiencies noted with respect to the helicopter's airframe and engine.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy of the pilot was performed at the Mahoning County Coroner's Office, Youngstown, Ohio, on May 30, 2006.
The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute prepared a Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report, which indicated negative results for all substances tested.
The FAA was a party to the investigation.