NTSB Identification: CEN13LA321
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, June 06, 2013 in Abbeville, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/02/2013
Aircraft: BELL 206-L4, registration: N720RL
Injuries: 2 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 helicopter was on its first flight after extensive maintenance. As the pilot approached a canal at an altitude of about 20 feet, he heard a noise and then a loud "pop." The helicopter then started to spin to the right and the pilot was unable to stop the spin. After about two revolutions, the pilot reduced engine power to idle, and the helicopter collided with terrain and water.

Examination of the helicopter revealed that the connection between the tail rotor drive shaft and the tail rotor gear box was partially separated. Of the two bolts that connected the drive shaft to the coupling on the gear box, one remained secured by its associated nut; however, the other bolt had backed out of the drive shaft, but remained in the coupling, and its corresponding nut was missing. The helicopter had accrued about 0.7 flight hours since its most recent maintenance, which included removing and reinstalling the tail rotor gear box. It is likely that the maintenance personnel did not ensure adequate torque of a tailrotor drive shaft coupling bolt, which allowed it to be back out of the drive shaft.

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

Failure of maintenance personnel to ensure adequate torque of a tailrotor drive shaft coupling bolt, which resulted in the partial disconnection of the drive shaft.

Full narrative available

Index for Jun2013 | Index of months