NTSB Identification: MIA07LA049.
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Accident occurred Sunday, February 11, 2007 in Placida, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/26/2008
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas 369FF, registration: N819BP
Injuries: 1 Minor,2 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 elected to land in an open field that was used as an overflow parking lot for a restaurant. The area was empty upon his arrival. At the time of his departure, the helicopter was surrounded with vehicles. During the liftoff, at about 30 feet above the ground, a witness and the pilot reported hearing a loud bang. The witness saw something black, about a foot long, fly off the tail rotor section. The helicopter immediately began an uncontrollable spin, descended, and crashed into trees. Postcrash examination of the helicopter revealed a section of the tail rotor pitch change control rod and bellcrank clevis were fractured and missing. Metallurgical examination of the remaining bellcrank and rod showed fractures consistent with a bending overload fracture. Examination of the remainder of the helicopter control systems, structure, and engine showed no evidence of precrash failure or malfunction.

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

The in-flight separation of the tail rotor pitch change control rod and bellcrank during takeoff-initial climb.

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