NTSB Identification: ANC07LA062.
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Accident occurred Monday, July 09, 2007 in Skwentna, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2007
Aircraft: Hiller UH-12E, registration: N146ET
Injuries: 1 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 solo commercial certificated pilot was attempting an off-airport landing on rough/uneven terrain under Title 14, CFR Part 91. The pilot reported that he was attempting a toe-in landing to pickup passengers, and about one foot above the ground he heard a loud bang, and the helicopter yawed to the right. The tail rotor separated from the helicopter, and the helicopter descended uncontrolled, impacting the ground, damaging the tail rotor, tail boom, fuselage, and main rotor system. During a postaccident inspection of the site, the pilot reported finding an area of disturbed snow, where the tail rotor struck the glacier. He described the conditions as wind shifts up to 180 degrees, gusting 10-15 knots, density altitude 7,000 feet, and marginal flat light on a snow-covered glacier. A passenger waiting to be picked up reported that it looked like a gust of wind pushed the tail of the helicopter to the right, and the tail rotor struck a snow bank.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from a glacier, which resulted in a tail rotor strike during landing, and damage to the helicopter during an emergency descent/landing on rough/uneven terrain. Factors contributing to the accident were variable and gusty wind conditions. Full narrative available
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