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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: SEA04LA074
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 27, 2004 in Montour, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/03/2004
Aircraft: Schramm Helicycle, registration: N3275Q
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot participated in a photo shoot earlier in the morning before landing and being refueled by company ground support personnel. Communication with the departing helicopter was maintained with ground support personnel until it went around a hill and out of sight. The aircraft was subsequently reported missing and located later in the day, partially submerged in a river located approximately 1 mile northwest of the departure point. There were no witnesses to the accident. An examination of the accident site revealed extensive damage to the helicopter due to impact forces with the water. The tail rotor, tail rotor drive shaft, and a major portion of the empennage and the fuel tanks were missing and never recovered. The engine and accessories were separated from the helicopter's airframe structure. The main rotor mast was free to turn and remained connected to the gearbox. Control continuity could not be determined due to the extensive damage to the helicopter. A small metal arm welded to the tail rotor pedal control torque tube was broken off. An examination of the rudder pedal assembly by the NTSB Materials Laboratory revealed that the fracture surface patterns were consistent with a bending overstress separation. It could not be determined whether the overstress condition was the result of a precrash or postcrash event. The pilot's helmet, equipped with a video recording device, was not recoverd during the postcrash recovery.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • In flight collision with terrain for undetermined reasons.