NTSB Identification: NYC96FA003.
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Accident occurred Friday, October 06, 1995 in QUAKERTOWN, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/22/1996
Aircraft: ENSTROM 280C, registration: N976BT
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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/owner and passenger departed on a local flight. Five minutes after takeoff, while orbiting the airport at 200 to 300 feet above the ground, the engine lost power and the pilot autorotated into trees. Examination of the wreckage revealed the single-drive dual-magneto was separated from the engine. The two magneto attaching studs on the engine were intact, and undamaged. No nuts, washers, or flange clamps were attached to the studs. The flange of the magneto was also undamaged. The two flange clamps were found in the debris below the helicopter. During a previous flight, the pilot successfully autorotated to a field when the dual magneto failed. The pilot had a mechanic replace the magneto, and the mechanic performed ground runs successfully. This was the first flight after the magneto change.

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

improper installation of the magneto by maintenance personnel, which resulted in the loss of ignition and the loss of engine power. A factor relating to the accident was: the lack of suitable terrain for an emergency landing.

Full narrative available

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