Findings Led FAA To Reduce Blade Life Limit To 3,000
National Transportation Safety Board has determined a fatigue
failure of a turbine blade brought down a tour helicopter in Hawaii
A Sunshine Helicopters Eurocopter AS350BA crash-landed onto a
canopy of trees on January 10, 2006 in Maui, after departing
Kahului Airport for a one hour sightseeing tour.
According to the NTSB probable cause report, the helo was coming
out of Manawainui Gulch near Kaupo following a viewing of Haleakala
Crater when "the helicopter vibrated, shuddered, and the low rotor
rpm warning horn sounded."
The pilot entered an autorotation and set it down into a canopy
of trees on its right side, according to the report. All aboard
were able to lower themselves to the ground and call for help.
The NTSB investigation revealed a turbine blade from the second
stage gas producer turbine had separated from the turbine wheel, a
result of a fatigue fracture caused by a corrosion/oxidation
As a result of this investigation, the Federal Aviation
Administration and engine manufacturer Turbomeca reduced the life
limit of the second stage turbine blades from 6,000 hours to 3,000
hours and implemented additional turbine inspection criteria.
The part in question in this accident had been in service 2,986
hours and had been used as a replacement part during a 2004
According to the Honolulu Advertiser, Sunshine Helicopters' Ross
Scott said the NTSB report gives the company "a clean bill of
The pilot sustained a broken ankle, but his four passengers
walked away without serious injury.