NTSB Identification: FTW97FA051.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Thursday, November 28, 1996 in HIGH ISLAND A20
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/26/2006
Aircraft: Eurocopter AS350B2, registration: N6100U
Injuries: 3 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 flight Sam 71 departed High Island 446, Gulf of Mexico at 1504, with a destination of High Island 105. At 1526, the pilot reported to Galveston flight following that the 'tail [rotor] gear box chip light [had] illuminated,' and he was experiencing a 'very high vibration,' which 'settled down a little bit at a slower airspeed.' At 1527 the pilot reported heading towards a platform 3 miles to his north. At 1531 Sam 71 reported that on his first attempt to land on the platform [High Island A20], he was 'not able to control the tail rotor.' Sam 71 also reported that he would try to land one more time, and if unable he would 'continue in [Galveston].' There were no further communications with Sam 71. Examination of the tail rotor system revealed one pitch change link disconnected.

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


The failure of the tail rotor pitch change link due to a fatigue fracture, which resulted in a loss of tail rotor control and separation of the aft tailboom.

Full narrative available

Index for Nov1996 | Index of months