NTSB Identification: DCA12MA020
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 07, 2011 in Las Vegas, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/20/2013
Aircraft: EUROCOPTER FRANCE AS350B2, registration: N37SH
Injuries: 5 Fatal.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The Safety Board’s full report is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/reports_aviation.html. The Aircraft Accident Report number is NTSB/AAR-13/01.

On December 7, 2011, about 1630 Pacific standard time, a Sundance Helicopters, Inc., Eurocopter AS350-B2 helicopter, N37SH, operating as a “Twilight tour” sightseeing trip, crashed in mountainous terrain about 14 miles east of Las Vegas, Nevada. The pilot and four passengers were killed, and the helicopter was destroyed by impact forces and postimpact fire. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Sundance as a scheduled air tour flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135. Visual meteorological conditions with good visibility and dusk light prevailed at the time of the accident, and the flight operated under visual flight rules. The helicopter originated from Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada, about 1621 with an intended route of flight to the Hoover Dam area and return to the airport. The helicopter was not equipped, and was not required to be equipped, with any on board recording devices.

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

Sundance Helicopters’ inadequate maintenance of the helicopter, including (1) the improper reuse of a degraded self-locking nut, (2) the improper or lack of installation of a split pin, and (3) inadequate postmaintenance inspections, which resulted in the in-flight separation of the servo control input rod from the fore/aft servo and rendered the helicopter uncontrollable. Contributing to the improper or lack of installation of the split pin was the mechanic’s fatigue and the lack of clearly delineated maintenance task steps to follow. Contributing to the inadequate postmaintenance inspection was the inspector’s fatigue and the lack of clearly delineated inspection steps to follow.

Full narrative available

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