On September 23, 1994, at 1430 hours Hawaii standard time, a Hughes 369D, N58400, crashed into the Pacific Ocean about 130 miles southeast of Canton Island. The pilot was conducting a local visual flight rules fish spotting flight. The helicopter, operated by Caribbean Fishing Company, Terminal Island, California, was destroyed and sunk into the ocean. The certificated commercial pilot and his passenger sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight originated near the accident area from a fishing vessel, the Eliza M. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot's attorney reported this accident to the National Transportation Safety Board, Southwest Regional Office, Gardena, California, on November 9, 1994. The attorney said the pilot told him that while flying to a rendezvous point with the Eliza M. at 480 feet above the ocean, the helicopter cyclic control began shaking about its lateral axis. The shaking was so violent it jerked the cyclic from the pilot's hand. The pilot regained control of the helicopter using both hands and immediately executed an autorotation.
During the autorotation, the pilot observed the main rotor disc tip path plane traveling at a higher angle above the horizon for its full forward cyclic position. He also noticed that one rotor blade was higher than the others. The helicopter floated before sinking into the ocean. While floating, the pilot observed the yellow coded pitch change link hanging from the rotating portion of the swash plate with its upper bearing assembly missing.
The pilot repeated the attorney's statement in the National Transportation Safety Board's Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report, NTSB Form 6120.1/2.