NTSB Identification: MIA00GA057.
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Accident occurred Monday, December 20, 1999 in FORT MYERS, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2001
Aircraft: Hughes OH-6A, registration: N72LC
Injuries: 1 Serious.

: 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 public aircraft accident report.

According to witnesses, the Lee County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) helicopter flew over the landing area and was on downwind when it suddenly turned to the right, and descend at a high rate of speed, in a nose low attitude, and impact a building. Postcrash examination revealed that the lateral control rod end fitting had separated from the control rod, and the fitting's bearing did not move freely, when compared to a normal rod end bearing. In addition, the rivet that normally passes through the lateral control rod and rod end fitting was missing. Dark and white deposits were found in the threaded region of the rod and rod end fitting, and laboratory analysis of those deposits revealed that the substances were aluminum oxides. Maintenance records show that the control rod had been inspected and modified by Heli-Tech, when the helicopter was first acquired, and had been delivered to the LCSO at about 3546 total flight hours. Following receipt of the helicopter from Heli-Tech, the operator's maintenance log did not indicate any specific maintenance entries related to the control rods. At the time of the accident the helicopter had accumulated 4419.4 flight hours.

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

improper maintenance inspection of the helicopter by unknown maintenance personnel, resulting in a worn control rod bearing being continued in service, and subsequent separation, resulting in an in-flight loss of control and a crash.

Full narrative available

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