NTSB Identification: SEA02FA108.
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Accident occurred Friday, June 21, 2002 in Clark Fork, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2003
Aircraft: Garlick UH-1H, registration: N114DR
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.

The commercial pilot was conducting long-line logging operations in a restricted category helicopter when witnesses heard what they described as a loud bang. A witness reported that the pilot had just released the fifth load of logs for the morning and was maneuvering, in a turn, and ascending up the hill. As the helicopter ascended, the witness heard the loud bang. Concurrent with the loud bang, the witness stated that he observed pieces of the helicopter, from the area of the tail boom, flying through the air. The helicopter then yawed to the left, just before impacting terrain in a nose low attitude. A search of the surrounding area located several pieces of the tail rotor assembly. The tail rotor blades, yoke assembly, pitch change links, a portion of the slider, crosshead and the distal end of the control shaft were located, as a unit, near the main wreckage. However, the splined barrel portion of the slider, the tail rotor static stop, tail rotor input shaft and tail rotor retaining nut were not found. Detailed examination of the remains of the tail rotor slider assembly revealed that the tail rotor slider lugs had fractured as a result of fatigue; however, because the condition of the missing components is unknown, it could not be determined if the fractured slider assembly was the primary failure of the tail rotor assembly.

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

A failure of unknown origin in the tail rotor drive assembly. Factors include mountainous terrain unsuitable for an emergency landing.

Full narrative available

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