NTSB lists tall grass as factor in July helicopter crash

Saturday, September 8, 2007 | 5:25 p.m. CDT; updated 10:01 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

Pilot error and tall grass caused a July helicopter crash in north Columbia, according to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The helicopter, owned by Triple S Hauling, crashed into a grassy field July 31, the Missourian reported in August. Billy Sapp, Roy Poe and Alan Barnes are listed as the owners of Triple S on the company’s business license. Its sole occupant, the pilot, whose name has never been disclosed, suffered minor injuries and was treated at Boone Hospital Center after the crash.

The pilot told investigators that his failure to balance the helicopter’s weight load led to the crash, said NTSB spokesman John Brannen. After finding out that a passenger would not ride along, he did not move the items in the helicopter and instead flew the craft from the co-pilot’s seat to save time. That caused the aircraft to lose balance and tip forward during takeoff, Brannen said.

After the helicopter tipped forward, the skids on the bottom of the craft were caught in the tall grass in the field that served as a landing pad behind an office building at 2406 N. Stadium Blvd.

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