MOUNDRIDGE- The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary accident report Tuesday for the March 8  helicopter crash near Moundridge that killed the pilot.
The report does little to answer questions about what caused the Bell 206-L4 helicopter to go down, but does give some insight into the conditions at the time of the accident.
According to the report filed by lead investigator Jason Aguilera of the bureau’s Denver office, the pilot, 66-year-old Roger G. Hershner of Sequim, Wash., filed no flight plan and had departed from Searle Field Airport in Ogallala, Neb., about two hours and 22 minutes before the crash occurred at 2:26 p.m.
Although the report indicates Hershner’s destination was unknown at the time of the accident, preliminary reports issued at the time of the crash indicate that he was planning to stop in Wichita to refuel.
The report indicates that the fatal crash left a wreckage path over 100 yards in length. The first ground scars were two tail rotor strikes followed by four main rotor strikes. The wreckage separated into four main sections. The sections consisted of the tail boom, the aft cabin, the forward cabin including the transmission, and the engine.
The  helicopter  was  equipped with a SkyConnect system, which was configured to transmit a position report  back  to  the  operator's  facility  in  Idaho  every  two  minutes.  The last transmission received was about 1.4 nautical miles northwest of the accident site.
The report lists weather conditions at the time of the accident at 55 degrees with clear skies and visibility at 10 miles. The wind speed was recorded at 15 miles-per-hour with gusts to 22 knots.
An autopsy was conducted on the pilot after the accident, but no information about his condition or any medical implications were included in the report.
Officials still have no eyewitnesses to the accident and are relying on reports relayed to county emergency official at the time of the accident.
NTSB officials stress that the preliminary report can be changed and is not final. It will take up to a year for the NTSB to release its final report and determination of the cause of the crash.