FTW95LA039
FTW95LA039

On November 8, 1994, at 1445 central standard time, a Hughes 269A, N10415, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Monticello, Arkansas. The airplane, operated by ARKLATEX Helicopters, Inc., and flown by a commercial pilot, was on a local controlled burning defoliation flight. There was no flight plan filed and visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured.

According to the pilot, he lost engine power and initiated an autorotation. During the descent, he extended his glide in order to clear a pile of logs. The aircraft subsequently touched down in a mud hole and rolled over on its right side. The pilot stated that after extricating himself from the wreckage, he noticed a piston push rod protruding from the case. He also reported that "suitable terrain for landing was not available in the immediate area."

An examination of the aircraft revealed that it had sustained substantial damage to the airframe and dynamic components. The examination also revealed that the fuel system maintained its integrity and contained approximately 12 gallons of fuel. The engine casing exhibited evidence that a malfunction of the rod had occurred. Additional examination of the engine revealed that the rod end bolts had failed. Two bolts were forwarded to the National Transportation Safety Board's Metallurgical Laboratories for detailed examination. Their examination revealed that the rod end bolts had failed in "fatigue" and that the bolt exhibited "fretting." Physical evidence demonstrated that the bolt "may have been initially installed with insufficient torque or became loose during service."

The helicopter and all retained parts were released to the owner.

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