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Sun, Feb 28, 2021

NTSB Prelim: Bell 206

Pilot Heard A Single Chirp With No Corresponding Caution Panel Lights

Location: Pahokee, FL Accident Number: ERA21LA126
Date & Time: February 4, 2021, 00:15 Local Registration: N820H
Aircraft: Bell 206 Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Other work use

 
On February 4, 2021, about 0015 eastern standard time, a Bell 206B, N820H, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Pahokee, Florida. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 agricultural flight.

According to the pilot, the flight was to maintain crop temperatures above 32° F by rotating a warmer thermocline air layer onto crops using the helicopter’s downwash. The preflight inspection, start, and checks were normal, and the first 2 hours of the flight were uneventful. The pilot reported that at the time of the accident, there was about 45 minutes of fuel remaining.

While maneuvering over the crops, at an altitude of about 50 ft, the pilot heard a single chirp with no corresponding caution panel lights; he scanned the instruments and did not observe anything abnormal, then the low rotor horn sounded, and the helicopter immediately started to lose altitude as the rotor speed degraded. The pilot initiated an autorotation but landed hard on uneven terrain. The right skid struck a mound and the left skid touched down in a ditch. The helicopter immediately rolled over and the rotor blades separated as they impacted the surrounding vegetation and terrain. After the helicopter came to rest, a postcrash fire ensued. The pilot and passenger evacuated without injury.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector reported that the helicopter impacted a sugar cane field at an elevation of 10 ft mean sea level. The wreckage debris path was compact; the tail boom and rotor blades were impact separated.  The helicopter was recovered from the accident site and retained for additional examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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