NTSB Identification: LAX06IA011.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Incident occurred Friday, October 14, 2005 in Kahului, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/29/2007
Aircraft: Hughes 369D, registration: N58267
Injuries: 5 Uninjured.

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

The helicopter was damaged during a hard landing following a loss of tail rotor control. The pilot was conducting a tour flight when tail rotor control was lost. He conducted an emergency landing and landed hard when the helicopter encountered a gust of wind. Examination of the tail rotor system revealed that the tail rotor control rod failed about 6.5 inches forward of its aft attach point, where the control rod attaches to the tail rotor pitch change bell crank. The control rod fractured perpendicular to its longitudinal axis and displayed a flat fracture surface. Metallurgical examination of the control rod fracture revealed that it failed as a result of fatigue cracking that propagated from the outside in. The crack origin could not be determined due to severe mechanical damage from relative movement between the fracture mating surfaces. Due to the damage, the size of the crack could not be determined, and therefore, an assessment of the crack's age could not be made. As a result, it was not possible to determine whether or not the crack would have been visible during the last inspection, which took place 91.2 hours prior to the accident. That inspection's checklist called for the removal and inspection of the tail rotor control rod.

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

The fatigue cracking and failure of the tail rotor control rod during cruise flight, which resulted in a hard landing during the precautionary landing.

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