Sikorsky S-76B, New York, Oct. 11, 2005–The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the accident was the failure of the pilot flying to maintain adequate aft hover clearance from a fence, and the PIC’s delayed remedial action. A factor was the dark night.
Owned by United Technologies, the helicopter had refueled at a riverside heliport and the pilot flying, in the right seat, lifted the helicopter into a hover, facing toward the river. The PIC, in the left seat, cleared the area and as the pilot flying moved the helicopter slowly to the right, it drifted backward and hit a fence. The PIC felt a vibration, took over the controls and landed. The pilot flying reported “dark, drizzling rain, northerly wind at 8 to 10 knots [and an] unusually high water level of the…river.” Both pilots were uninjured.