14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Friday, April 29, 2016
San Ardo, CA
BELL 47G 5, registration:
Injuries: 1 Minor.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On April 29, 2016, about 0715 Pacific daylight time, a Bell 47G 5, N6288N, experienced a loss of control during flight, and impacted in an open field in San Ardo, California. The Wilbur-Ellis Company operated the helicopter under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an aerial application, crop-dusting flight. The pilot received minor injuries, and the helicopter sustained substantial damage. The flight began about 0530 that morning, and had sprayed multiple fields before the accident flight.
According to the operator, the pilot had sprayed five fields prior to the accident, with no mechanical problems encountered. On the accident flight, the operator reported that they were spraying pesticides at a lettuce field. As the helicopter came out of a turn, and the pilot began to level off, he heard a loud bang; the helicopter began to shake and was difficult to control laterally. The pilot slowed the helicopter down to perform a run-on landing when the tail boom collided with a berm, and the helicopter subsequently rolled onto its side.
A detailed examination of the airframe and engine are pending.