ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 34609
Last updated: 14 August 2020
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Type:Silhouette image of generic B06 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 206L-1 LongRanger II
Owner/operator:West Virginia State Police
Registration: N79SP
C/n / msn: 45540
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Charleston, WV -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:WV (CRW)
Destination airport:S. Charleston, WV (WV07)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Three minutes after takeoff, an ATC controller heard a garbled transmission with an ELT signal in the background. Witnesses observed the helicopter in level flight, about 300 feet above a hill, when a tail section separated from the helicopter, followed by the helicopter entering a spin, rolling inverted, and descending into trees. The tail boom section aft of boom station 167, which included the upper and lower vertical fin, the tail rotor gear box, and the tail rotor hub and blades, was found 650 feet from the main wreckage. Examination revealed fatigue cracks at the separated area of the tail section. Due to reports of tail boom cracking, an Alert Service Bulletin had been published by the manufacturer in 1987 recommending an inspection of the tail boom every 100 hours, which had been complied with by the operator. The manufacturer and the FAA certification office were aware of a few reports of tail boom cracking, and were not aware of over 220 Service Difficulty Reports that concerned cracks in the Bell 206L tail booms. A doubler was added to the failed area on recent production models; however, no modifications were developed to add a doubler to the failed area of the older models. CAUSE: the helicopter manufacturer's inadequate maintenance service bulletin inspection interval which failed to provide timely detection of preexisting fatigue cracks in the tail boom. Factors were: the manufacturer's failure to develop a modification of the failed area, and the failure of the FAA certification office to monitor and act upon the significant number of reports of tail boom cracking that were reported by industry.



Safety recommendations:

Safety recommendation A-96-8 issued 14 May 1996 by NTSB to FAA

Revision history:

24-Oct-2008 10:30 ASN archive Added

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description