Mechanical Error Cited in Huey Crash Outside Minot
Mechanical error caused a UH-1N Huey helicopter
to make an emergency landing outside Minot AFB, N.D., last February, according
to an accident investigation board report summary released last week. The
report found the Feb. 25 mishap was caused by a loss of tail rotor thrust,
which was followed by a driveshaft coupling failure. “Approximately
an hour into the flight, the crew from the 54th Helicopter Squadron heard a
loud noise coming from the rear of the aircraft and felt an accompanying
vibration,” states the summary, released Dec. 20.
“The pilot chose to make a precautionary landing in a snow-covered field.” After the tail rotor lost thrust about 100
feet off the ground, the pilot continued to autorotate—a procedure where the
main rotor system uses air moving through the rotor instead of engine power to keep
turning. When the helicopter was about 30 feet off the ground, the pilot
applied control inputs to level the aircraft and cushion the landing, states
the summary. However, the right rear skid hit the ground before the left skid,
causing the main rotor blades to strike the ground when the aircraft rolled to
the left and landed on its side. Three aircrew members were injured, but
there were no civilian injuries or damage to civilian property, states the
summary. The helicopter was considered a total loss with more than $2.3 million
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