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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 14210
Last updated: 29 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic S61 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Sikorsky S-61L-II
Owner/operator:New York Airways
Registration: N618PA
MSN: 61426
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 18
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Newark, NJ -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Newark, NJ
Destination airport:Flushing, NY
Investigating agency: NTSB
Flight 972 had just taken off and was at an altitude of 1200 ft about one mile to the east of Newark when one of five blades broke due to a fatigue failure and separated from the tail rotor. The crew attempted an emergency landing but as about 150ft the tail gearbox detached and the aircraft pitched down out of control.
Off the 18 persons onbord, 3 passangers were killed; 10 passengers and 3 crewmembers were injured seriously.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the separation of the tail rotor assembly and gearbox from the aircraft at an altitude which made further controlled flight impossible.
The rotor assembly and gearbox separated because of severe vibrations in the rotor assembly which were induced by the loss of a tail rotor blade due to fatigue failure.
Contributing to the severity of the passengers' injuries were the seat failures which occurred when the deceleration forces exceeded the relatively low design strength of the FAA-approved seats, and the lack of guidance on a passenger brace position for emergency landings.


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report
Safety recommendations:

Safety recommendation A-79-25 issued 19 April 1979 by NTSB
Safety recommendation A-79-26 issued 19 April 1979 by NTSB
Safety recommendation A-79-76 issued 1 October 1979 by NTSB to FAA
Safety recommendation A-79-77 issued 1 October 1979 by NTSB to FAA
Safety recommendation A-79-78 issued 1 October 1979 by NTSB to FAA
Safety recommendation A-79-85 issued 14 November 1979 by NTSB to FAA

Revision history:

25-Feb-2008 12:00 ASN archive Added
30-Dec-2009 04:28 TB Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
30-Dec-2009 11:55 TB Updated [Aircraft type]
23-Aug-2014 14:06 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
15-Feb-2020 20:42 harro Updated [Source, Narrative, Accident report, ]

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