NTSB: improper maintenance to blame for helicopter crash near Las Vegas

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Updated: 1/29/2013 6:32 pm
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- The National Transportation Safety Board determined today that the probable cause of the Dec. 7, 2011, air tour helicopter crash near Las Vegas was inadequate maintenance, including degraded material, improper installation, and inadequate inspections.

On Dec. 7, 2011, Sundance Helicopter Eurocopter AS350, operating as a “Twilight City Tour” sightseeing trip, crashed about 14 miles east of Las Vegas, Nev. The helicopter came from Las Vegas McCarran International Airport with a planned route to the Hoover Dam area and then return to the airport.

NTSB reports the crash occurred after a critical flight control unit separated from another, making the helicopter uncontrollable. The pilot and four passengers were killed and the helicopter was destroyed.

The NTSB found that the crash was the result of Sundance Helicopters’ improper reuse of a degraded self-locking nut in the servo control input rod and the improper or non-use of a split pin to secure the degraded nut, in addition to an inadequate post-maintenance inspection.

A synopsis of the NTSB report, including the probable cause, findings, and a complete list of the safety recommendations, is available at www.ntsb.gov/news/events/2013/las_vegas_nv/index.html. The full report will be available on the website in several weeks.

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