The NTSB said Hayes probably probably made an abrupt flight control input that contributed to “mast bumping,” when the inner part of a helicopter’s blade contacts the shaft that spins it, causing it to break up in flight.
One witness told investigators that he saw the 1982-built helicopter rocking back and forth before it “spun sideways” and “a bunch of parts” departed the airframe.
The helicopter — originally built as an Army observation platform — had been involved in two previous accidents.
Bob Collins has been with Minnesota Public Radio since 1992, emigrating to Minnesota from Massachusetts. He was senior editor of news in the ’90s, ran MPR’s political unit, created the MPR News regional website, invented the popular Select A Candidate, started several blogs, and every day laments that his Minnesota Fantasy Legislature project never caught on.
NewsCut is a blog featuring observations about the news. It provides a forum for an online discussion and debate about events that might not typically make the front page. NewsCut posts are not news stories.