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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.

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General details
Date: 19 September 2008 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1710 EST  
Location   (show map):Hoxton Park Aerodrome SE M/6km Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Objects falling from aircraft 
Release date: 20 November 2009 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Aerospatiale Industries 
Aircraft model: AS350 
Aircraft registration: VH-BUK 
Serial number: 2197 
Type of operation: Charter 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Fitzroy Falls, NSW
Destination:Rosehill Heliport, NSW
Crew details
RoleClass of licenceHours on typeHours total
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Last update 14 November 2018