The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.
Aviation Accident Preliminary Report / National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf
West Valley Aviation Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N211CS
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Fresno, California
NTSB Identification: WPR17LA071
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 01, 2017 in Firebaugh, CA
Aircraft: BELL 206B, registration: N211CS
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.
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 March 1, 2017, about 1030 Pacific standard time, a Bell 206B, N211CS, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Firebaugh, California. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the helicopter, was not injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by West Valley Aviation Inc., under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local aerial application flight, which originated from a nearby staging area about 1 minute prior to the accident.
The pilot reported that during an agricultural aerial application flight, he was flying about 5 feet over the crop at an airspeed of 70 mph, when he heard a loud bang followed by a loss of engine power. He executed an autorotation and upon touchdown in a freshly plowed soft field, the main rotor blade struck the tailboom and the helicopter came to rest upright.
Postaccident examination of the helicopter by the pilot revealed that the tailboom was separated forward of the tailrotor gearbox. The helicopter was recovered to a secure location for further examination.