On 19 September 2008, during a flight from Fitzroy Falls to Rosehill, NSW, the pilot of a Eurocopter AS350 BA helicopter, registered VH-BUK, experienced the onset of severe vibration within the tail rotor controls and made an emergency landing at Casula High School. Subsequent examination of the aircraft revealed that one of the tail rotor pitch change links had fractured, resulting in lateral movement of the tail rotor and damage to the tail boom and tail cone.
The pitch link had fractured from fatigue cracking that was the result of stresses induced in the link by excessive play in the heavily-worn spherical bearing. It was probable that bearing wear outside of maintenance manual limits existed, but was not detected, during the most recent after last flight (ALF) inspection.
As a result of this occurrence, the helicopter manufacturer released Safety Information Notice (No. 2000-S-65) and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority released an Airworthiness Bulletin (AWB 27- 009) to remind operators, pilots and maintenance personnel of the requirements for ALF inspections for pitch link condition and bearing play.
|Date:||19 September 2008||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||1710 EST||Investigation level:||Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|Location:||Hoxton Park Aerodrome SE M/6km|
|State:||New South Wales||Occurrence type:||Objects falling from aircraft|
|Release date:||20 November 2009||Occurrence category:||Accident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||None|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Aerospatiale Industries|
|Type of operation||Charter|
|Damage to aircraft||Substantial|
|Departure point||Fitzroy Falls, NSW|
|Destination||Rosehill Heliport, NSW|
|Role||Class of licence||Hours on type||Hours total|