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On June 28, 2006, about 0800 Pacific daylight time, a Bell 206B helicopter, N205LA, rolled to the left, and impacted the ground near Chino Hills, California, during a takeoff from an off-airport landing site. TSR Helicopters was operating the traffic watch helicopter under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The commercial pilot and the news reporter passenger sustained minor injuries; the helicopter sustained substantial damage. The local traffic watch flight departed Van Nuys, California . Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.
During a telephone interview the pilot reported that while conducting an aerial observation flight for a local news service, he heard a loud bang. The pilot elected to make an off-airport precautionary landing on a hilltop located in the Chino Hills State Park. After landing, the pilot reduced the throttle setting to ground idle, and locked the flight controls. He exited the helicopter, and attempted to locate the source of the noise he had heard. The pilot stated he found nothing wrong, and re-entered the helicopter to resume the flight.
After he brought the helicopter into a hover and started to transition into forward flight, the helicopter rolled to the left and impacted the ground. During the accident sequence the main rotor blades and hub separated from the mast and the tail boom separated from the fuselage.
The helicopter was recovered from the accident site for further examination.
The operator reported that the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with a helicopter rating.
The 41 year old pilot held a second-class medical certificate issued on November 18, 2005. It had limitations that the pilot must wear corrective lenses.
The operator reported that the pilot had a total flight time of 2,171 hours. He logged 62 hours in the last 90 days, and 30 in the last 30 days. He had an estimated 1,965 hours in this make and model, and had completed a flight review on November 10, 2004.
The helicopter was a Bell B206B, serial number 2322. A review of the helicopter's logbooks revealed a total airframe time of 9,419 hours at the time of the accident. The last annual inspection was completed on June 07, 2006.
The engine was a Rolls-Royce/Allison, 250 C20B, serial number CAE8004678F. Total time recorded on the engine at the time of the accident was 8,776.9 hours.
The closest official weather observation station was Chino Airport, Chino, California (CNO), which was located 5 nautical miles (nm) northeast of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 652 feet msl. An aviation routine weather report (METAR) for CNO was issued at 0753 PDT. It stated: winds were calm; visibility 4 miles; skies clear; temperature 26 degrees Celsius; dew point 15 degrees Celsius; altimeter 29.97 inHg.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
Investigators examined the wreckage at Aircraft Recovery Service, Littlerock, California, on July 18, 2006.
Examination of the airframe, flight control system, driveline, fuel system, and the main rotor and tail rotor systems were inconclusive and no pre-impact damage or system failures were noted.
The three hydraulic servos were removed and transported to Helicopter Accessory Service, Inc. (HAS) located in Sun Valley, California. Two of the servos, (Serial No. RH-1674 & RH-1454) exhibited mechanical damage consistent with impact damage. The examination revealed no pre-impact damage or abnormalities. HAS determined the servos were functionally operational.