NTSB Identification: LAX06LA072.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Tuesday, January 10, 2006 in Hana, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/27/2007
Aircraft: Eurocopter AS350BA, registration: N3607P
Injuries: 1 Serious,4 Minor.
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 flying a sightseeing tour over a dense tropical forest the helicopter experienced a total loss of engine power and autorotated into the forest canopy. Forty-four minutes into a 1-hour sightseeing tour the helicopter vibrated, shuddered, and the low rotor rpm warning horn sounded. The pilot entered an autorotation and tried to arrest the helicopter's forward velocity before settling into the treetops. The helicopter dropped nose first towards the forest floor, and came to rest on its right side suspended in the trees a few feet from the ground. During the subsequent engine examination it was determined that a turbine blade from the second stage gas producer turbine had separated from the turbine wheel. A material laboratory analysis determined that the turbine blade failure was a result of a fatigue fracture that was initiated at a corrosion/oxidation pit. As a result of the investigation into the engine failure, the engine manufacturer has reduced the life limit of the second stage turbine blades from 6,000 hours to 3,000 hours, and implemented additional turbine inspection criteria.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The total loss of engine power due to a fatigue failure of a turbine blade. A factor in the accident was the lack of a suitable forced landing site.
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