NTSB Identification: LAX95LA030.
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Accident occurred Monday, October 31, 1994 in WILLITS, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/16/1995
Aircraft: BELL UH-1E, registration: N5088J
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE PILOT WAS CONDUCTING A SERIES OF SLING LOAD LOGGING OPERATIONS. THE PILOT DEPARTED THE LOGGING AREA AFTER SETTING DOWN THE LAST LOG. DURING THE CLIMB-OUT, THE TAIL ROTOR ASSEMBLY STRUCK A TREE AND SEPARATED FROM ITS ATTACH BRACKET. THE PILOT EXECUTED AN AUTOROTATION. THE HELICOPTER SUSTAINED A HARD LANDING AT THE COMPLETION OF THE AUTOROTATION. METALLURGICAL EXAMINATION OF THE HELICOPTER'S 90-DEGREE GEARBOX DISCLOSED NO EVIDENCE OF ANY FATIGUE ON THE FRACTURED SURFACES. THE WRECKAGE EXAMINATION REVEALED NO EVIDENCE OF ANY PREEXISTING AIRFRAME OR ENGINE MALFUNCTIONS OR FAILURES.

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

that the pilot misjudged the distance between the helicopter and the trees.

Full narrative available

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