ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 36072
Last updated: 20 April 2014
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Date:07-DEC-1991
Time:15
Type:Silhouette image of generic AS50 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Aérospatiale AS 350D Astar
Owner/operator:Equipment Leasors Of Pa
Registration: N26FH
C/n / msn: 1331
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Fuquay-Varina, NC -   United States of America
Phase: Landing
Nature:Unknown
Departure airport:Wilmington, NC
Destination airport:Durham, NC (NONE)
Narrative:
THE NEWS HELICOPTER WAS RETURNING FROM A REPORTING ASSIGNMENT AT NIGHT IN VMC CONDITIONS. THE SOLE SURVIVOR, A SPORTSCASTER, REPORTED THAT ABOUT 20 TO 25 MINUTES BEFORE THE CRASH, THE ENGINE CHIP LIGHT CAME ON. THE LIGHT CAME ON AND WAS RESET BY THE PILOT 5 TO 10 TIMES. THERE WAS ALSO A LOSS OF TORQUE ON THE TORQUE GAUGE. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE ENGINE LOST POWER & THE HELICOPTER CRASH LANDED IN AN OPEN FIELD. AN INSPECTION OF THE ENGINE REVEALED THE #2 BEARING HAD SEIZED, RESULTING IN FAILURE OF THE COMPRESSOR SHAFT. THE #2 BEARING HAD BEEN REPLACED DURING RECENT ENGINE MAINTENANCE, AND THERE WAS ONLY ABOUT 125 HOURS ON THE NEW BEARING. THE OIL JET TO THE BEARING WAS NOT BLOCKED OR CLOGGED. THERE WERE TORQUE FLUCTUATIONS OBSERVED ON TWO OCCASIONS DURING THE WEEK BEFORE TO THE ACCIDENT. SEVERAL COMPONENTS WERE CHANGED IN AN ATTEMPT TO PINPOINT THE PROBLEM. THE SURVIVOR'S SEAT BELT FAILED IN THE CRASH DUE TO AN IMPROPER INSTALLATION, AND HE WAS THROWN CLEAR OF THE WRECKAGE. CAUSE: THE PILOT'S IMPROPER DECISION IN CONTINUING THE FLIGHT WITH A KNOWN ENGINE PROBLEM, AND THE SUBSEQUENT SEIZURE OF THE NUMBER TWO ENGINE BEARING, RESULTING IN ENGINE STOPPAGE. DARKNESS WAS A RELATED FACTOR.

Sources:
NTSB: http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20001212X18539


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
24-Oct-2008 10:30 ASN archive Added
Number of views: 788

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