NTSB Identification: DFW05LA019.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, November 09, 2004 in Sapulpa, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/24/2005
Aircraft: Bell 206L1, registration: N1075P
Injuries: 2 Minor,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 2,000-hour helicopter pilot reported that after an uneventful departure, and while at an altitude of approximately 500-800 feet and an airspeed of 90 knots, he heard a loud "bang." Following this "bang," tail rotor effectiveness was lost, and the helicopter was forced into a sideways, nose-down attitude The pilot performed an autorotation and made a hard landing into a field. A "dusk" light condition prevailed, and the helicopter came to rest on its left side. Examination of the wreckage by the FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, revealed that some of the fly-away items and some medical supplies, normally stored in the baggage compartment, were found scattered along the route of flight short of the main wreckage. Examination of the baggage compartment door revealed that both door latches were unlatched, and the door was partially open. Further examination of the tail rotor drive shaft revealed a torsional fracture of the tail rotor drive shaft. Frayed fibers and material consistent with clothing or a blanket were found throughout the tail rotor assembly and tail rotor hub. The pilot reported that there were two oxygen containers in the cargo compartment that were stacked on one another and reached approximately the same height as the latch release button on the interior side of the baggage compartment door.

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

The loss of tail rotor drive as a result of a blanket coming in contact with the tail rotor blades, after the baggage compartment door unlatched during flight. A contributing factor was the "dusk" light condition that prevailed at the time of the accident.

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