Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Aviation Accident

Quick Launch

NTSB Identification: WPR10CA164
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, March 16, 2010 in Parker, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/01/2010
Aircraft: EUROCOPTER AS 350 B3, registration: N4282
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot of the helicopter told the lead mechanic that the main rotor blade needed to be balanced. Two mechanics showed up on the morning of the accident and installed the balancing equipment. A test flight was flown. The two men performed the necessary work, which required a second adjustable wrench on the top of the rotor head to hold the bolt while the nut below was removed and later torqued back on. When the work was finished, the men gathered their tools. The pilot asked the lead mechanic if they had gathered all their tools and the mechanic replied "yes." The three men got on the helicopter for a test hover to check their work. As the main rotor speed reach 100 percent, the three occupants heard a "bang." As the helicopter hovered, the two mechanics thought the balancing equipment readings were worse than the first flight, and the vibrations in the aircraft had increased. The pilot landed the helicopter so that the mechanics could make additional adjustments. The mechanics discovered that they were missing the adjustable wrench that had been used on the top of the main rotor head. Postaccident examination revealed that one main rotor blade, the tail boom, and the lower vertical stabilizer had received damage from the unaccounted for wrench.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The mechanics' failure to account for all the tools following a maintenance procedure and the pilot's failure to perform a preflight check before a maintenance test flight.