NTSB Identification: SEA07LA108
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Thursday, April 19, 2007 in Kahuku, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/30/2008
Aircraft: HUGHES 369D, registration: N911FT
Injuries: 2 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.

During an aerial surveillance flight, the helicopter's engine chip light illuminated, and the pilot headed towards a nearby heliport to make a precautionary landing. The pilot established a steep fast approach in case of engine failure while on approach. At approximately 100 feet above the ground and an airspeed of 65 knots, he applied power and began to slow the helicopter. At this point, the engine lost power, and the pilot entered an autorotation. The helicopter landed hard breaking both forward landing gear struts and spreading the rear struts. The main rotor blades impacted the tail boom, and the tail boom separated from the fuselage. Examination of the helicopter revealed heavy deposits of oil on the inner surfaces of the engine compartment as well as on the exterior surfaces of the engine. There was no oil in the airframe engine oil reservoir. The oil line leading from the engine gearbox to the oil pressure gauge was found cracked beneath the "B" nut securing it to the fitting on the engine gearbox. The N2 (power turbine) drive could not be rotated. Partial disassembly of the engine revealed damage to the number six, seven, and eight bearings consistent with a lack of adequate lubrication. Laboratory examination of the cracked oil line found fatigue cracking had propagated through an estimated 90 percent of the cross-sectional area of the tube. The cracking allowed lubricating oil to leak from the line resulting in oil starvation to the bearings leading to seizure of the power turbine.

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

Fatigue cracking of the oil line from the engine gearbox to the oil pressure gauge, which resulted in loss of engine lubricating oil, leading to seizure of the power turbine.

Full narrative available

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