NTSB Identification: FTW03LA102.
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Accident occurred Sunday, March 02, 2003 in Ruston, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/02/2004
Aircraft: Enstrom 280FX, registration: N383MA
Injuries: 1 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 43-hour student helicopter pilot landed stated that he hovered the helicopter from the parking area to the taxiway for a west departure. After taxiing "at about a 2-3 foot skid height for about 100 yards, he settled the helicopter back down on the ground against a headwind, landing very, very gently." The pilot stated he started to "throttle down" the engine. At approximately 1/3 power, he heard a loud "splat," after which the helicopter "quivered." After shutting down the engine, the pilot exited the helicopter and noticed that the tail rotor was not turning. The 1986-model helicopter was reported to have accumulated a total of 1,609 hours since new. The investigation revealed that the tail cone separated and the associated bolt had fractured due to fatigue failure.

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

The separation of the upper tail cone as a result of a fractured bolt due to fatigue.

Full narrative available

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