NTSB Identification: SEA06LA135.
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Accident occurred Friday, June 30, 2006 in Moab, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/26/2007
Aircraft: Hughes 369D, registration: N369PB
Injuries: 3 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 pilot reported that he was maneuvering the helicopter at an altitude of about 200 feet agl conducting filming operations when he heard a loud bang after which the collective control felt "mushy" and "as if there was no positive control." He initiated a precautionary power on autorotative landing. The helicopter touched down on top of a ridgeline and then slid approximately 50 to 75 feet into a gully area, coming to rest in a 40 to 45 degree nose down attitude. During the landing, the main rotor contacted and severed the tail boom. Examination of the helicopter revealed that the collective bungee support bracket was fractured. A service information notice issued by the helicopter's manufacturer on March 7, 1980, called for a one time inspection of the collective bungee support bracket to ensure that thickness of the machine web surface in the aft lug area of the bracket was 0.065 inch or more. Excerpts from the helicopter's maintenance records provided by the pilot indicated that the service information notice was complied with prior to June 25, 1997. Examination of the fractured bracket revealed that the web thickness varied from 0.036 to 0.052 inch, which was below the minimum thickness requirement. Additionally, a hole that would have been drilled in the bracket during compliance with the service information notice was not present, indicating the procedure was not performed.

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

The failure of the collective bungee support bracket due to non-compliance with a service information notice, which resulted in the pilot executing a precautionary autorotative landing. A contributing factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the landing.

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