NTSB Identification: CHI07LA273.
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Accident occurred Saturday, August 18, 2007 in Winamac, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/30/2008
Aircraft: Terpstra Exec 162F, registration: N428JT
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 experimental amateur-built rotorcraft impacted terrain during cruise flight following the in-flight separation of the vertical stabilizer, which resulted in damage to the tail rotor. The rotorcraft was registered to and built by the pilot. The pilot did not hold a rotorcraft rating and received a 90-day solo endorsement to pilot the rotorcraft approximately 10 months before the accident. Examination of the vertical stabilizer revealed fatigue fracture of the vertical stabilizer bracket originating from hole burrs. The airplane construction manual states, "It is good practice to remove all sharp edges when working with sheet metal. Various types of deburring tools are available, or use a file or sandpaper."

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

The inadequate installation of the horizontal stabilizer bracket by the pilot, the fatigue fracture seperation of vertical stabilizer bracket during cruise flight, and the aircraft control not possible by the pilot.

Full narrative available

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