NTSB Identification: FTW94FA231.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 13, 1994 in GALVESTON, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/31/1995
Aircraft: AEROSPATIALE AS-350B1, registration: N350WM
Injuries: 4 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.

THE PILOT REPORTED THAT THE HELICOPTER WAS CLIMBING THROUGH '...2,000 FEET WHEN A BUMP SIMILAR TO TURBULENCE WAS FELT. ANOTHER BUMP WAS FELT, FOLLOWED BY A MORE PRONOUNCED BUMP, THEN AIRCRAFT CONTROL WAS LOST.' HE ADDED THAT THE CYCLIC AND COLLECTIVE WERE UNRESPONSIVE. THE HELICOPTER IMPACTED THE WATER IN THE GULF OF MEXICO APRX 11 MILES OFFSHORE. ALL MAJOR COMPONENTS, EXCEPT THE VERTICAL FIN AND TAILROTOR GEARBOX, WERE RECOVERED. DURING A RECONSTRUCTION OF THE HELICOPTER, THE LEFT LATERAL SERVO ROD END WAS FOUND DISCONNECTED FROM THE SERVO EXTENSION. THE THREADS ON THE ROD END WERE INTACT AND APPEARED UNDAMAGED; HOWEVER, ONLY REMNANTS OF THE MATING INTERNAL THREADS IN THE SERVO EXTENSION REMAINED. ALMOST THE ENTIRE THREAD PROFILE WAS WORN AWAY LEAVING ONLY THE THREADED AREA THAT HAD BEEN LOCATED WITHIN THE KEYWAY SLOT OF THE ROD END. THE ZER0-TIME SERVO HAD BEEN INSTALLED 416 FLIGHT-HRS BEFORE THE ACCIDENT. THE LEFT LATERAL SERVO, WHICH IS CONNECTED BY A PUSH ROD TO THE CONTROLS AT THE MAIN ROTOR HEAD, CHANGES THE ATTITUDE OF THE HELICOPTER BY CHANGING THE ANGLE OF ATTACK OF THE MAIN ROTOR BLADES.

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

INADEQUATE TORQUING OF THE LEFT LATERAL SERVO BY MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL, WHICH ALLOWED IT TO BECOME DISCONNECTED FROM THE CONTROLS, LEADING TO AN IN-FLIGHT LOSS OF CONTROL.

Full narrative available

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