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N3324F accident description

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Crash location 37.071111°N, 79.006111°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Naruna, VA
37.105975°N, 79.002517°W
2.4 miles away
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Tail number N3324F
Accident date 16 Sep 2008
Aircraft type Hiller UH-12E
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On September 16, 2008 at 1843 eastern daylight time, a Hiller UH-12E, N3324F, operated by Summit Helicopters incurred substantial damage during an emergency landing after encountering a severe vibration and reduction of main rotor speed near Naruna, Virginia. The certificated commercial pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the aerial application flight, conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 137

According to the pilot, while in straight and level flight for his “next pass,” and getting ready to turn “the boom switch on,” the helicopter began a “violent horizontal circular shake or wobble,” and the engine did not sound right to the pilot. It then experienced a reduction in main rotor rpm and began to descend. The pilot then entered an autorotation, started a left turn to avoid trees, and touched down.

During the forced landing, the tail rotor contacted the ground, and after the engine had been shutdown, one of the main rotor blades contacted the tailboom when the rotor head tilted, and the blade moved forward.

Postaccident examination by company maintenance personnel and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the helicopter had received damage to transmission mounts, 5th driveshaft Cardan joint, the 1 inch driveshaft slip joints, the tail rotor gearbox, the tail rotor assembly, the landing gear, the tailboom, the engine to transmission drive shaft, the main rotor blades, and one of the main rotor blade drag struts.

Further examination revealed that the main rotor blade drag strut had failed at the inboard threaded portion of the strut. The drag strut was retained by the Safety Board for further examination.

According to FAA and pilot records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with multiple ratings, including rotorcraft helicopter. He had accumulated 756 total hours of flight experience in rotorcraft, and 249 hours in the accident helicopter make and model.

According to FAA and operator records, the helicopter was manufactured in 1964. The helicopter’s most recent 100 hour inspection was completed on August 28, 2008, and at the time of the accident, it had accumulated 9,529 total hours of operation.

A weather observation taken about 11 minutes after the accident at Lynchburg Regional Airport (LYH), Lynchburg, Virginia, located approximately 18 nautical miles north-northwest of the accident site, recorded the wind as calm, visibility 10 miles, 7,000 overcast, temperature 19 degrees Celsius, dew point 15 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.15 inches of mercury.

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