NTSB Identification: ATL02LA159.
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Accident occurred Friday, August 16, 2002 in Haleyville, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/29/2003
Aircraft: Schweizer 300C, registration: N269FW
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

During cruise flight, the helicopter lost engine power, and the pilot was unable to restore it. During the forced landing in the darkness, the pilot was unable to see the terrain, and the helicopter hit the ground hard. Examination of the engine revealed two lower screws of the No. 3 valve cover were missing. The attachment bolts of the intake pipes of both the No. 1 and No. 3 cylinder assemblies were found loose. The No. 3 intake pipe was found rotated approximately 180 degrees from the normally installed position. The gaskets normally installed under the intake pipe flanges of the No. 1 and No. 3 intake pipes were missing. The No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4 spark plugs were wet with fuel, and the No. 3 spark plug was dry and displayed tan-colored combustion deposits. A review of maintenance records revealed the engine had operated 38.2 hours since inspection.

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

The failure of maintenance personnel to perform an adequate inspection of loose intake components, which resulted in a total loss of engine power and subsequent emergency descent, forced landing, and collision with terrain in dark night conditions.

Full narrative available

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