NTSB Identification: FTW96LA095.
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Accident occurred Friday, January 12, 1996 in SAN YGNACIO, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/03/1996
Aircraft: Schweizer 269C, registration: N3623T
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

While herding cattle, the helicopter was moving laterally at about 70 feet out of ground effect, when the pilot heard a loud 'bang.' He said he applied anti-torque pedal to 'straighten' the helicopter with the flight path, but the helicopter did not respond to pedal inputs. The engine produced high RPM, but the tail rotor and main rotor RPM decreased. The pilot initiated an autorotation and landed on both skids. During touchdown with lateral movement, the helicopter rolled over and came to rest on its side. Inspection of the helicopter revealed that the swedged ball on the end of the clutch control cable had separated, which allowed the rotor drive system clutch assembly to disengage.

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

Failure of the rotor drive system clutch assembly (separation of the swedge ball from the end of the clutch control cable), which resulted in disengagement of the rotor drive system, while the helicopter was in lateral movement at low altitude.

Full narrative available

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