NTSB Identification: WPR13FA006
14 CFR Part 133: Rotorcraft Ext. Load
Accident occurred Sunday, October 07, 2012 in Medford, OR
Aircraft: GARLICK HELICOPTERS INC UH-1H, registration: N1577
Injuries: 1 Minor.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 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.

On October 7, 2012 about 1513 Pacific daylight time, a Garlick Helicopters UH-1H, N1577, made a forced landing following separation of the tailrotor gearbox approximately 16 miles north of Medford, Oregon. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries and the helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was registered to a private individual and operated by Columbia Basin Helicopters under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 133. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that departed Merlin (Grants Pass), Oregon at 1400.

The pilot reported that when in straight and level flight, during the return flight from the firefighting efforts, he heard a loud noise followed by an abrupt, hard yaw to the right. The pilot immediately initiated a descending right hand turn towards the valley below. During the descent, he heard another loud noise followed by severe vibration. The low rotor RPM horn and Master caution lights illuminated. The pilot continued to descend until the helicopter impacted terrain.

On-scene examination of the helicopter by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the tail rotor gearbox was separated from the helicopter and not present.

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