A&M Chopper Crash Caused by Rotor Malfunction: Report

Re-training ordered for Blackhawk pilots after crash

Tuesday, Dec 15, 2009  |  Updated 12:15 PM CDT
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A&M Chopper Crash Caused by Rotor Malfunction: Report

AP

An emergency worker carries equipment away from a helicopter after it crashed on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

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An investigative board found a tail rotor malfunction contributed to an Army Blackhawk helicopter crash on the Texas A&M campus.

The panel also found that the crew of  the helicopter did not follow correct emergency procedures.

Two crewmembers died and three were injured in the January 12 crash during a training exercise.

KBTX-TV reported the information after an open records report to the Texas Air National Guard.

The report says the aircraft went into a spin after a control pedal became obstructed by a boot, but that did not cause the crash. The review found the stuck control pedal caused a tail-rotor malfunction, and "the crew did not fully realize the situation the aircraft was in and did not execute the proper emergency procedure."

The crew chief, 42-year-old Sgt. Charles C. Mitts of Spring, and 22-year-old 2nd Lt. Zachary Cook died of injuries suffered when the helicopter crashed near the Corps of Cadets field on the A&M campus about 100 miles northwest of Houston.

While Army investigators said the emergency should have been handled differently, the report found the crew was not negligent or careless.

The report recommended all UH-60 Blackhawk pilots be retrained so they could correctly diagnose the type of rotor malfunction experience in the crash.

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