NTSB Identification: MIA07FA098
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 13, 2007 in Moulton, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/28/2008
Aircraft: HUGHES 369A, registration: N468WE
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 aircraft accident report.

The pilot recently purchased the helicopter through an aircraft broker. An annual inspection was done prior to the sale, at which time a main rotor blade was replaced and the other three were overhauled. The accident occurred on the fourth flight of the day of a multiple-leg cross-country flight. The flight departed from one of several planned fuel stops. No flight plan was filed, and searchers found the fire- and impact-damaged wreckage 2 days later in wooded terrain. Three of the four main rotor blades were found separated from the main rotor hub with one of the blades located about 1,100 feet from the main wreckage, consistent with an in-flight separation. A National Transportation Safety Board materials engineer examined the blade retention strap assemblies, and no preexisting material issues were identified to explain why one or more main rotor blades could have separated prior to impact.

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

The separation of a main rotor blade from its tension torsion bar for an undetermined reason.

Full narrative available

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