NTSB Identification: LAX99LA022.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 03, 1998 in PIOCHE, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/28/1999
Aircraft: Bell 206L-3, registration: N946L
Injuries: 1 Minor,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.

The pilot was approaching a narrow ridge. About 25 feet agl, he ran out of left pedal and the helicopter began an uncommanded right turn. The pilot reported that he attempted to gain altitude in order to remain on the ridge. He then entered an autorotation and the aircraft impacted the ground in a level attitude and rolled onto its left side. Review of the maintenance records revealed that on October 30, 1998, the maintenance facility had removed the tail rotor hub and blade assembly from the accident aircraft, and replaced it with the tail rotor hub and blade assembly from a Bell 206L-1. This was the first flight since the replacement. The Director of Maintenance reported that the maintenance technician did not perform a rigging check after installing the new assembly because he assumed that the same assembly did not require a check. According to the maintenance records, the tail rotor pitch links that were installed on the accident aircraft were Part Number 206-010-795-101. The maintenance manual states that the pitch links for a Bell 206L-3 should be Part Number 206-010-795-105. According to a representative from Bell Helicopter Textron, all the parts from the tail rotor hub and blade assembly are compatible from the Bell 206L-1 to the Bell 206L-3, except for the tail rotor pitch links. He further stated that the tail rotor pitch links on the Bell 206L-1 are smaller than those from the Bell 206L-3, and would give the pilot less tail rotor authority.

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

The loss of tail rotor effectiveness, due to the installation of incorrect pitch links by the maintenance facility. A factor in the accident was the lack of an adequate quality assurance program in the maintenance facility.

Full narrative available

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