NTSB Identification: MIA00LA170.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, May 24, 2000 in FORT PIERCE, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/02/2001
Aircraft: Southwest Florida Aviation SW204, registration: N37BA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
According to the pilot, at 50 feet, agl and 35 mph over an orange grove, he felt a shudder and heard cracking noises from the rear of the helicopter. He tried to put the rotorcraft down between rows of trees, but lost all control during his landing attempt, started spinning, and rolled over. The tail rotor assembly was located 400 feet from the wreckage with one rotor blade tip weight missing. Factory examination revealed the cause of the separation of the tip weight was corrosion of the adhesive bond between the blade skin, the blade spar, and the tip weight. The blade's data plate was missing and the data plate recess was smoothed over. The blade part and serial number provided by the operator did not match factory assembly records, and the factory was encouraged by the FAA to file a 'Suspected Unapproved Parts' report.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: An in-flight separation of a tail rotor blade tip weight resulting in tail rotor assembly imbalance and separation due to the installation of an unapproved rotor blade by company maintenance personnel, and the subsequent collision with trees during an emergency landing. Full narrative available
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