NTSB Identification: SEA99LA020.
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Accident occurred Monday, December 14, 1998 in DARRINGTON, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/11/2000
Aircraft: GARLICK UH-1H, registration: N94NW
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 in a hover during heavy-lift aero-logging operations, the vertical fin separated from the tail boom, resulting in an uncontrolled descent into the terrain. During the investigation, the NTSB Materials Laboratory determined that the separation was due to the propagation of a number of fatigue cracks which had initiated within the fourth rivet hole above where the left side of the spar fin cap protruded from the tail boom. Although the FAA had previously issued Airworthiness Directive (AD) 97-20-09 to address the separation of vertical fins from UH-1 helicopters used in repeated heavy-lift operations, the Rotorcraft Directorate determined that the AD was not adequate. As a result, the Directorate initiated the formulation of a Priority Letter Airworthiness Directive requiring the replacement of the original fin spar with one that '...has been shown to account for the effects of repeated heavy-lift operations.'

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

The total separation of the vertical fin (stabilizer), as the result of fatigue cracks which initiated in the fourth rivet hole above where the fin extends from the tailboom.

Full narrative available

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