NTSB Identification: FTW01FA043.
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Accident occurred Friday, December 29, 2000 in Gilchrist, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/07/2003
Aircraft: Bell 407, registration: N407MM
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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.

During a repositioning flight conducted in visual meteorological conditions, the helicopter disappeared over the Gulf of Mexico. No distress calls from the pilot were received. The main wreckage was located 2 days after the accident, with about 3-feet of the tail boom still attached. Deformation of the wreckage indicated evidence of an uncontrolled impact with the water. Five days later another section (middle) of the tail boom was recovered, floating about 60 miles from the main wreckage. When examined, this section revealed 4 tail rotor blade strike marks in relative distance along the tail boom of the tail rotor tip path plane. Fifty-eight days later, the aft most section of the tail boom was found washed up on the shoreline. Examination of this section revealed a missing rod end, which was part of the tail rotor pitch control system. It could not be determined if the rod end came loose in flight or during the impact with the water. According to the autopsy report, the pilot's death was due to traumatic injury with a "contributing" cause of an "acute occlusion to left anterior descending coronary artery of the heart." No definite conclusions could be drawn as to the reason for the loss of control.

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

The loss of control for reasons undetermined.

Full narrative available

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