Preliminary Report: MD 900 control rods separate
MD Helicopter MD 900, Weatherford, Texas, Oct. 8, 2008–The MD 900 experienced a violent yaw to the left while cruising near Weatherford with the autopilot on. The pilot regained control and continued to his destination, Grand Prairie Municipal Airport, without further incident. Investigators found that the vertical stabilizer control rod had separated from the actuator. No one was injured. The MD 900, N902RN, is registered to California Shock Trauma Air Rescue of Sacramento.
MD Helicopter MD 900, Amherst, Texas, Oct. 20, 2008–The Air Care MD 900 experienced a violent yaw to the right and pitched up and down, while cruising near Amherst. The pilot regained control and returned to Lubbock, Texas, his departure point. Investigators found that the vertical stabilizer control rod had separated from the actuator. No one was injured. The helicopter, N902NM, is registered to Covenant Health Systems of Lubbock.
Dennis Baker, director of operations for Air Care, told AIN that the company’s MD 900s were built in 2000 and 2001, but when new MD 900s started having problems with control rods, the whole fleet was grounded and had to have a new design installed. MD Helicopters is now designing a new rod. In the meantime, Air Care is limiting MD 900 speed to 100 knots, with no autopilot use.