Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Bell UH-1F Iroquois, N3181F: Incident occurred October 09, 2020 in Willits, Mendocino County, California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oakland, California

Rotorcraft during pre-flight inspection damage was discovered to rudder and a missing bolt to tail boom.

Salmon River Helicopters Inc

Date: 09-OCT-20
Time: 22:00:00Z
Regis#: N3181F
Aircraft Make: BELL
Aircraft Model: UH1
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PUBLIC USE
Flight Phase: STANDING (STD)


  1. A really old bird built in 1964 originally for the USAF according to the SN history. Being USAF instead of Army means it likely was a domestic bird and never set skids in Vietnam. It has been used as an external rigging platform. One interesting thing of note: it had a tail boom mod called "FastFin" by BLR Aerospace according to the the company that owns it (and another UH-1). Link to BLR Aerospace and this mod:


    Also its last flight apparently was on 9/30. If that damage was done from the previous pilot and went unreported, that's a serious liability situation and that individual could have his ticket suspended or yanked by the FAA).

  2. Did someone presume that the FastFin's cutout area of reduced vertical fin was a missing "rudder" and write it up? There is no swinging rudder on a Huey.

    1. ^^The scary thing is that is the FAA's official statement finding now on record. The FAA has a lot of low level admin employees who do the writings. What we are seeing here (and not just here) is the level of ignorance of basics when it comes to working for the most important government entity for aviation (with the NTSB being a close second whose accident investigation findings can affect FAA rules and manufacturer certifications).

      I've seen plenty of poor grammar examples as well in initial report findings that were full of poor grammar as well, but that's our wonderful primary public school education system for you (that we keep pumping more money into and getting diminishing returns year after year). Where are the proof-readers and fact checkers in the FAA when they release these initial reports? At least they could have gotten it correct and stated vertical stabilizer (at speed it still works to stabilize and dampen yaw movement).