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Mon, Dec 03, 2012

NTSB Prelim: R44 Turned 180 Before Collision

Helicopter Collides With Fuel Pumps, Crash/Fire Kills Pilot

Helicopters are an amazing type of flying machine... one that offers unparalleled capabilities and maneuverability. But with those capabilities and the maneuverability comes the responsibility to be wary of the hazards such complexities may entail... and in this case, the hover-taxiing helo apparently collided with the fuel pumps as it turned to leave the area.

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA054
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 25, 2012 in Corona, CA
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II, registration: N4204A
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On November 25, 2012, at 2308 Pacific standard time, a Robinson R44 II, N4204A, collided with a structure at Corona Municipal Airport, Corona, California. The pilot/owner was operating the helicopter under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The commercial pilot sustained fatal injuries; the helicopter sustained substantial damage from impact forces and post-crash fire. The cross-country personal flight was departing Corona for an undetermined destination. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

Witnesses reported hearing the helicopter engine running, and then a bang followed by an explosion. They went outside and observed the helicopter on fire.

Fueling records indicated that the pilot added 40.6 gallons of 100 LL aviation fuel about 15 minutes before the accident. A review of a security video showed that the helicopter was facing toward the fuel station. It lifted off, and made a 180-degree turn to the right. Near the completion of the turn, the helicopter tilted forward with the tail coming up. Then there was a flash and explosion. The helicopter came to rest turned 180 degrees back to the original direction.

FMI: www.ntsb.org

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