NTSB Identification: FTW02LA176.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 09, 2002 in Dover, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2004
Aircraft: Bell 206L-3, registration: N103AE
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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

The helicopter over flew the landing zone, and the pilot initiated an approach from the south. The pilot determined the helicopter was too high for the approach and initiated a go-around. On the second approach, while using the landing light, the pilot was leaning forward and scanning the area ahead when he "felt the aircraft shudder," and then realized the helicopter was in a high sink rate. The pilot applied power to arrest the descent. The helicopter had "just turned 90 degrees when it stabilized; however, not before striking a tree or trees." The pilot applied additional power to climb above the tree line. "Control response was normal except for excessive vibration in the foot pedals, resonating through the fuselage." Due to rough terrain, low illumination, and obstacles, the pilot elected to fly the helicopter to an airport south of the landing zone. The helicopter landed at the airport without further incident. Examination of the helicopter revealed that the tail rotor gearbox was partially separated from its mount, and both tail rotor blades were damaged.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance with trees during the approach. A contributing factor was dark night light conditions.

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