NTSB Identification: ATL02LA067.
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Accident occurred Thursday, March 28, 2002 in Hortense, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/25/2003
Aircraft: Aerospatiale AS315B, registration: N49525
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the pilot, he was 100 feet in the air, at 40 knots, when he heard a bang in the tail section of the helicopter and thought he felt something break loose on the helicopter. There was an immediate loss of power to the main rotor system. The pilot attempted to flare the helicopter as it went into the trees. The helicopter impacted trees at approximately 30 knots, sustaining substantial damage. Examination of the helicopter revealed that the short shaft connecting the engine to the main gear box separated just aft of the connecting flange. Examination of the mounting hardware revealed that the connecting bolts had not been safety wired at the time of the accident. Examination of the helicopters maintenance records and an interview with the helicopter mechanic found that the helicopter had undergone a 400 hour inspection about two days prior to the accident or 10 hours of operation. The mechanic confirmed that he had removed and reinstalled the short shaft prior to the accident but could not recall if he had safety wired the connecting bolts as called for in the helicopters maintenance manual.

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

Failure of the engine to main transmission drive shaft due to improper installation by company maintenance personnel. A factor were the trees.

Full narrative available

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