NTSB Identification: CHI06GA174.
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Accident occurred Friday, June 30, 2006 in Chicago, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/2008
Aircraft: Bell UH-1H, registration: N681FD
Injuries: 3 Minor,1 Uninjured.
: NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.
The public-use helicopter was responding to an emergency when it had a vibration and yawed to the right during cruise flight. It subsequently had a loss of tail rotor thrust. The pilot reduced engine power and made an autorotation to a park along the lakeshore. During landing flare, the helicopter yawed left as the pilot increased collective prior to touchdown. He stated that the touchdown "seemed smooth" and was made on the aft-portion of the skids, but as the helicopter slowed the left yaw tendency increased. The helicopter rolled over and came to rest inverted at the completion of the run-on landing. Examination of the helicopter revealed that the number-one tail rotor driveshaft hanger assembly had separated, resulting in a discontinuity of the tail rotor driveshaft. The machine bolt that held the assembly together was not installed with the required cotter pin. Further examination of the hanger assembly revealed that the splined areas did not contain grease. The remaining tail rotor driveshaft hanger bearings were properly greased and assembled. The mechanic who worked on the helicopter reported that due to other workload items, the previous tail rotor driveshaft inspection was interrupted several times before he was able to complete all of the required tasks. To avoid inter-mixing the driveshaft components, he temporarily reassembled the hanger assemblies before working on other projects. His intention was to disassemble each hanger bearing when he had the opportunity to complete the inspection. The mechanic stated that he must have forgotten to disassemble, inspect, and grease the number one hanger assembly. At the time of the accident, the number one hanger assembly had accumulated about 33 hours since the inspection.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The in-flight separation of a tail rotor driveshaft hanger bearing due to inadequate maintenance performed by maintenance personnel. Contributing to the accident was the inability to maintain directional control due to the lack of tail rotor thrust.
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