NTSB Identification: MIA94FA125.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Friday, April 22, 1994 in MARATHON, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/01/1995
Aircraft: BELL 47D1, registration: N9660
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Serious.

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.

WITNESSES HEARD A LOUD NOISE AS THE HELICOPTER WAS FLYING AT 100' TO 150' AGL & SAW SOMETHING FALL FROM THE TAIL BOOM. THE HELICOPTER IMMEDIATELY NOSED DOWN & BEGAN SPINNING TO THE RIGHT. IT IMPACTED ON A ROCK ISLAND & CAME TO REST IN WATER NEXT TO THE ISLAND. THE TAIL ROTOR GEARBOX, TAIL ROTOR HUB & ONE TAIL ROTOR BLADE WERE NOT LOCATED AFTER THE ACCIDENT. ONE TAIL ROTOR BLADE WAS FOUND ALONG THE FLIGHTPATH IN 2 PIECES, ABOUT 150' FROM THE MAIN WRECKAGE. THE TAIL ROTOR GEARBOX HAD SEPARATED DUE TO OVERSTRESS; ALL FRACTURES OF THE RECOVERED TAIL ROTOR BLADE WERE TYPICAL OF OVER- STRESS. THE TAIL ROTOR BLADE HAD NO IMPACT MARKS ON THE LEADING EDGE OR TIP. NO PRECRASH FAILURE/MALFUNCTION OF THE REMAINING STRUCTURE, FLIGHT CONTROLS, MAIN ROTOR BLADES, TRANSMISSION OR ENGINE WAS FOUND. A TAIL ROTOR STRIKE OCCURRED 130 FLIGHT HRS BEFORE THE ACCIDENT; THE TAIL ROTOR BLADES WERE CHANGED, BUT THE HUB WAS NOT CHANGED AS REQUIRED BY THE MANUFACTURER'S INSTRUCTION. THOUGH OPERATING FOR HIRE, HELICOPTER HAD FLOWN 130 HRS SINCE THE LAST MAINTENANCE INSPECTION. CALCULATIONS SHOWED THAT DURING TAKEOFF, THE HELICOPTER'S CG WAS 3.4' FORWARD OF THE FORWARD LIMIT. WITH LOSS OF THE SEPARATED PARTS, THE CG WOULD HAVE MOVED ABOUT 2' FURTHER FORWARD.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

SEPARATION OF THE TAIL ROTOR GEARBOX AND TAIL ROTOR BLADES FOR AN UNDETERMINED REASON. FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: FAILURE OF MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL TO FOLLOW THE PROPER MAINTENANCE PROCEDURE AFTER A PREVIOUS TAIL ROTOR STRIKE, AND FAILURE TO CONDUCT A 100-HOUR INSPECTION WHEN DUE.

Full narrative available

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