Aviation safety investigations & reports

In-Flight Failure of a Tailrotor Drive Shaft; Fig Tree Pocket, QLD

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 13 May 2005, a McDonnell Douglas Hughes 369E helicopter, registered VH-INM, experienced an in-flight failure of the tailrotor drive shaft. The aircraft had departed Archerfield Airport, Qld, and was in climb to cruise at approximately 1,000 ft above ground level when the pilot encountered tailrotor control difficulties. The aircraft was landed and brought to rest in an upright position at Fig Tree Pocket, Qld.

The broken tail shaft (P/N 369D21615-41) was submitted to the ATSB, where examination revealed that the component had sustained a twisting buckling failure from excessive torsional loads. The investigation did not reveal any evidence of pre-existing damage that might have initiated the failure.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 755KB]
General details
Date: 13 May 2005   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 10:30    
Location   (show map): Fig Tree Pocket    
State: Queensland    
Release date: 22 December 2006   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Hughes Helicopters  
Aircraft model 369  
Aircraft registration VH-INM  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Departure point Archerfield, QLD  
Destination Archerfield, QLD  
Last update 16 February 2016