NTSB Identification: MIA95TA230.
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Accident occurred Friday, September 22, 1995 in CULEBRA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/29/1996
Aircraft: BELL 206B, registration: N2280N
Injuries: 3 Serious,1 Minor.

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

While in cruise flight at 800 feet the pilot felt a high frequency shutter and growl. The shutter increased and the helicopter yawed to the right. An autorotation was performed, and upon landing on the water the main rotor blades severed the tailboom and helicopter rolled to the right and partially sank. Postcrash examination of the helicopter showed the tail rotor gear box and tail rotor had separated and were not recovered. Damage indicated the tail rotor gearbox had been loose from its mounting for some time. Maintenance records showed the tail rotor gearbox input seal was changed 110 flight hours before the accident, and at a 100-hour inspection, 14 flight hours before the accident, a mechanic certified that the tail rotor gearbox attach bolts were checked for proper torque. Bell Helicopter operating procedures require the tail rotor and tail rotor gearbox be checked during the pilot's preflight inspection.

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

the failure of company maintenance personnel to insure the tail rotor gearbox attach bolts were properly torqued.

Full narrative available

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