NTSB Identification: ATL05LA035.
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Accident occurred Thursday, December 16, 2004 in Rockford, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2005
Aircraft: Bell UH-1H, registration: N51AG
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.
According to the pilot, during a turn while applying fertilizer over pine trees he heard a "loud bang"; at the same time he lost tail rotor authority. The pilot attempted to level the helicopter and settled into the trees. Post accident examination reveal the helicopter was upright and on its skids. Flight control continuity was established with the cyclic and the collective controls. Examination of the tail rotor blades revealed leading edge damage on both blades. Examination of the helicopter revealed the lower fuselage was buckled and the tail rotor rear housing of the tail rotor gearbox transmission was broken and cracked. The tail rotor assembly was examined and revealed that the fracture features on the case assembly indicated an overload event. The wear patterns on the teeth of the bevel gears within the gearbox indicated that they were forced apart. There were no indications of any pre-exiting conditions on the components examined that would suggest a failure before the tail rotor strike.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain adequate obstacle clearance, which resulted in an in-flight collision with a tree.
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