Maker of Defective Rotor Pin Agrees to $10M Settlement

 - January 19, 2023, 12:56 PM
A defective rotor pin triggered the 2021 fatal crash of a Bell 212 in Canada resulting in a worldwide fleet grounding. (Photo: Transportation Safety Board of Canada)

The manufacturer of a defective main rotor component linked to the 2021 fatal crash of a Bell 212 in Canada has agreed to settle a related civil suit for $10 million. Fore Aero of Haltom City, Texas, manufactured the main rotor hub strap retaining pin on the first blade assembly of the accident helicopter. The pin failed after only 20 hours time in service, causing the entire main rotor assembly to separate from the helicopter in flight and killing the pilot, who was the sole occupant. 

An investigation by Canada’s Transportation Safety Board found that the pin was made from weaker steel than specified by the helicopter’s OEM and that resulted in the “catastrophic failure of the main rotor assembly,” according to Dallas aviation attorney Ladd Sanger, who served as co-counsel in the suit filed on behalf of the pilot's family.

The accident helicopter was a 1979 Bell 212 owned and operated by Yellowhead Helicopters and was being flown on a fire-suppression support mission, transporting fire crews near Evansburg, Alberta. The crash triggered an emergency grounding, inspection, and pin replacement impacting 400 Bell 204, 205, and 212 models worldwide. 

“The defective shear pin and the lack of quality control in the manufacturing process resulted in the death of a very experienced pilot and family member under routing flying conditions,” said Sanger. “The tragedy should have never happened.”