NTSB Identification: FTW96TA398.
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Accident occurred Monday, September 23, 1996 in HOUSTON, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/1997
Aircraft: Hughes 269C, registration: N7492F
Injuries: 2 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.

The flight instructor was demonstrating an autorotation from 50 feet AGL to a grassy area. The helicopter touched down with skids level and the flight instructor increased the collective to keep the aircraft skids light on the ground and to maintain a straight ground track. The helicopter had traveled approximately 70 feet, and was moving at approximately 20 knots when the aircraft pitched forward and to the right. The flight instructor 'felt at least three severe impacts to the aircraft and then the aircraft was stopped.' Examination of the helicopter revealed that the left and right skid tubes were fractured, and the right skid was detached from its front and rear gear dampers. The tailboom and tail rotor were 'sheared off' by the 'main rotor blades.' Further examination of the skids revealed that the bottom of the right skid tube was 'worn beyond the manufacturers tolerances.' According to an FAA inspector, a 'certified A&P [mechanic] failed to follow inspection procedures as outlined in [the] work card and [the] Manufacturer Maintenance Manual.'

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

company maintenance personnel not complying with maintenance procedures and directives to inspect the helicopter's skids, which allowed the right skid to wear beyond the manufacturer's tolerances.

Full narrative available

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