NTSB Identification: NYC87MA024.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 35353.
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 22, 1986 in MANHATTAN, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/28/1988
Aircraft: ENSTROM F-28F, registration: N8617B
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE AIRCRAFT WAS CONTRACTED BY NBC TO MAKE DAILY HIGHWAY TRAFFIC OBSERVATIONS IN THE NEW YORK CITY AREA. THE PILOT AND PASSENGER, AN NBC RADIO TRAFFIC REPORTER, WERE FLYING IN A NORTHERLY DIRECTION ALONG MANHATTAN'S WEST SIDE AT AN ALTITUDE OF ABOUT 75 FEET. WITNESSES OBSERVED THE AIRCRAFT'S MAIN ROTOR BLADES STOP, THE AIRCRAFT DESCENDED RAPIDLY, STRUCK THE TOP OF A CHAIN LINK FENCE AT A RIVER PIER, CRASHED INTO THE HUDSON RIVER AND SANK IN 15 TO 20 FEET OF WATER. INVESTIGATION REVEALED THE SPRAG CLUTCH WAS INADEQUATELY LUBRICATED, HAD 'ROLLED OVER' IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION OF ITS DESIGN AND THE SPRAG ASSEMBLY WAS DAMAGED. SEVERAL SPRAGS AND BOTH ACTIVATING SPRINGS WERE BROKEN AND DIFFERENT SIZE SPRAGS WERE INSTALLED. AN UNAUTHORIZED, OVERHAULED CLUTCH HAD BEEN INSTALLED IN THE AIRCRAFT.

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

ROTOR DRIVE SYSTEM,FREEWHEELING SPRAG UNIT..FAILURE,TOTAL

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

ROTOR SYSTEM,MAIN ROTOR BLADE..MOVEMENT RESTRICTED

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

ROTOR DRIVE SYSTEM,FREEWHEELING SPRAG UNIT..INCORRECT

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

MAINTENANCE..IMPROPER..COMPANY MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL


Contributing Factors

OBJECT..FENCE

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