Monday, January 8, 2018

Bell 407, N214AM, Air Methods: Accident occurred January 04, 2018 in Norfolk, Madison County, Nebraska

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lincoln, Nebraska

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Air Methods Corporation: 

Location: Norfolk, NE
Accident Number: CEN18CA072
Date & Time: 01/04/2018, 1900 CST
Registration: N214AM
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Part(s) separation from AC
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Positioning


The pilot and two medical crewmembers were on a return flight to a hospital helipad. During the approach to the helipad, the crew heard a noise outside the helicopter. The medical crewmembers reported they felt a slight "shudder" on the helicopter but attributed it to the wind as they approached the helipad. The pilot heard the noise, but there was no effect on the controls or flight characteristics, so he continued the landing without further incident. After engine shutdown, the oncoming pilot noticed that the helicopter's tail rotor drive shaft cover was missing. The surrounding area near the helicopter's approach path was searched, and the missing cover was found.

An examination of the helicopter noted substantial damage to the tail rotor drive shaft.

The day before the accident, scheduled maintenance was performed on the helicopter's tail rotor pitch change mechanism, which required removal of the drive shaft cover. The cover was reinstalled, and no problems were reported during a subsequent preflight inspection.

It is likely that maintenance personnel did not properly secure the cover fasteners after the cover was reinstalled. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

Maintenance personnel's failure to properly secure the tail rotor drive shaft cover, which resulted in the cover departing the helicopter in flight.



Maintenance/inspections - Incorrect service/maintenance (Cause)

Personnel issues
Scheduled/routine maintenance - Maintenance personnel (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Prior to flight
Aircraft maintenance event

Part(s) separation from AC (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport
Age: 63
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present:
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: 
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/01/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N214AM
Model/Series: 407 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 54485
Landing Gear Type: Ski;
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/03/2018, AAIP
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 5501 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: ROLLS-ROYCE
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 250-C47B
Registered Owner: AIR METHODS CORP
Rated Power: hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night/Dark
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: -13°C / -14°C
Lowest Ceiling:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots, 90°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting:
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point:  Omaha, NE
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: Norfolk, NE
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:
Type of Airspace: 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 3 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 None
Latitude, Longitude:  42.022500, -97.413611

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