NTSB Identification: MIA04LA058.
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Accident occurred Friday, March 12, 2004 in Bunnell, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2005
Aircraft: Ortmayer/Parson none, registration: N69EP
Injuries: 1 Fatal,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.

While on an instructional flight, a bolt in the main rotor blade broke separating the blade from the hub. The blade struck the student pilot resulting in fatal injuries. The responding FAA inspector stated the on-scene investigation found the hub bar wing and rotor blade had separated from the hub bar due to the failure of the hub bar wing retaining bolt head. The NTSB material lab reported the bolt that retains the hub bar wing to the hub bar was fractured in the radius between the shank and the head. Presence of fatigue arrest marks covering approximately 90 percent of the cross-sectional area. The fatigue cracks initiated from multiple origins all the way around the outer diameter surface at the bases of the radius with the head. The head contacts that hub bar without the use of a washer. A product notice number 33 was issued by Rotary Air Force (RAF) on June 18, 2001, placing a 500 hour time change factor on RAF rotor blades and hub bar "until further notice". The product notice number 33 had not been accomplished on the accident gyroplane at the time of the accident. The owner/certified flight instructor (CFI) stated the blades had a total time of about 930 hours at the time of the accident, which about 430 of those hours were of airtime. He did remember getting some kind of notice through the mail, something about a 500 hours time on the blades but the notice was not clear and too vague. If it was mandatory, a notice wound be issued stating as such. The Owner/CFI added the blades on the accident gyroplane never experience a ground strike, but did have nicks and scrape marks on the blades. A representative of RAF contacted the owner/CFI about a month after product notice 33 was issued advising of the notice and informed him about internal damage and stress that occurs if the rotor blade contacts the ground and the nature of such damage, which are undetectable. The owner/CFI stated he and RAF have had conversations; however, those discussions were more about training issues and the amount of training time the students were receiving. None of those conversations were about RAF product notice number 33 or blade strikes.

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

The owner/pilot mechanic's failure to comply with a manufacture notice to replace the rotor blades and hub bar assembly, resulting in a failure of the hub bar to hub bar wing attaching bolt and separation of a main rotor blade.

Full narrative available

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