NTSB Identification: FTW96LA385.
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Accident occurred Thursday, September 12, 1996 in HAMBURG, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/14/1997
Aircraft: Hiller UH12E, registration: N156HA
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 reported that he had refueled the helicopter and loaded chemicals at a field location. About 1 minute after takeoff, he heard a 'loud bang,' followed by a vibration. A forced landing was initiated towards a dirt road. However, prior to landing, the helicopter began to 'spin.' Subsequently, the helicopter impacted trees in a 'slight nose low attitude.' An examination of the helicopter revealed that one tail rotor blade was separated approximately 10 inches from the hub. Further examination revealed the ballast weight which is located on the aft portion of the tailboom, partially disconnected. It was secured to the tailboom only by its forward retaining pin. The ground crew reported that the day prior to the accident, they had observed the ballast weight disconnected at its aft attaching point, and informed the pilot. The pilot reinstalled the ballast weight and secured it with the retaining pin. One of the ground crew also reported that 'the pin seemed to lock in place.'

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

The loss of tail rotor control as result of a tail rotor blade strike by a partially disconnected ballast weight, due to a disconnected pin. A factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

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