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FAA issues emergency Enstrom AD

The FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive Feb. 12 after a helicopter instructor and his student nearing her private pilot helicopter checkride died Jan. 26 in an accident at Erie Municipal Airport about 15 miles north of Denver. The FAA said a cracked spindle resulted in separation of the main rotor blade from the Enstrom helicopter.

The emergency AD came after Enstrom issued a nearly identical service bulletin on Feb. 11. A witness reported to the Daily Camera newspaper that the helicopter was making a steep approach. The newspaper reported that the Enstrom 280FX was owned by New Course Aviation and operated by Erie-based Mountain One Helicopters.

The directive was issued to owners and operators of Enstrom models (all serial numbers) F-28A, 280, F28-C, F28-C-2, F-28C-2R, 280C, F-28F, F-28F-R, 280F, and 280FX; and the 480 model with a serial number of 5001 through 5006; with a main rotor spindle part number 28-1482-11 or 28-14282-13. Cracked spindles must be replaced prior to flight, and results must be reported to the FAA within 72 hours.

The witness reported hearing a loud pop as the helicopter began to descend. Instructor Alex Viola, 23, of Arkansas City, Kansas, and helicopter student Amy Wood, 25, who stated on a website that she was planning a career as a helicopter pilot, were killed. She worked in the prepared foods section of Whole Foods in Boulder and had graduated from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Alton Marsh
Alton K. Marsh
Freelance journalist
Alton K. Marsh is a former senior editor of AOPA Pilot and is now a freelance journalist specializing in aviation topics.
Topics: Accident, Helicopter, Ownership

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