NTSB Identification: MIA88FA257.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 37678.
Accident occurred Friday, August 19, 1988 in RIVIERA BEACH, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/07/1989
Aircraft: HUGHES 500, registration: N3766Z
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

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 TRAFFIC WATCH HELICOPTER WAS CRUISING NORTHBOUND ALONG THE INTERSTATE AT 450 FT AGL & 85 KTS AIRSPEED. A GRINDING NOISE WAS HEARD & THE TAIL ROTOR SEPARATED FROM THE ACFT. THE ACFT BEGAN AN UNCOMMANDED RIGHT TURN WHICH WAS ARRESTED IN ABOUT 1/4 TURN. THE PLT ATTEMPTED TO AUTOROTATE INTO AN OPEN FIELD JUST EAST OF THE HWY, BUT STRUCK A 25 FT TREE AT THE EDGE & CRASHED. AN EXAM REVEALED THE TAIL ROTOR GEAR BOX HOUSING, P/N 369A5400-607, HAD FAILED. A PORTION OF THE HOUSING, DRIVEN GEAR, TAIL ROTOR BLADES & RELATED COMPONENTS SEPARATED FROM THE ACFT IN FLT. THE MISSING PARTS SANK IN A LAKE ABOUT 1/2 MI FROM THE CRASH SITE & WERE NOT RECOVERED. THE REMAINING SECTION OF THE BOX WAS EXAMINED BY NTSB LAB & FAILURE WAS DUE TO OVERLOAD WITH NO EVIDENCE OF FATIGUE OR CORROSION. A WITNESS SAW 2 OBJECTS FALL FROM THE HELICOPTER. ONE OBJECT WAS WHITE AND LOOKED LIKE A BIRD, PROBABLY A SEAGULL. THE OTHER OBJECT LOOKED LIKE A STICK OR A 2X4 PIECE OF WOOD.

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

OBJECT..BIRD(S)



Contributing Factors

OBJECT..TREE(S)


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