Fatal Helicopter Crash in Pigeon Forge, TN Blamed on Faulty Fuel Pump
In April of 2016, a sightseeing helicopter crashed while on a tour of Pigeon Forge, TN, killing the four passengers and the pilot. Several problems were noted, including an old-design fuel system that allowed a fire after the crash. This was noted early in the investigation. Here is the news report: LINK
After further inspection, it was found that the physical cause of the crash was a failure of the fuel pump, causing the engine to lose power. The pump drive shaft splines were severely worn, preventing the pump from operating and supplying fuel to the engine. The engine quit prior to the crash.
There are still some questions about why the fuel pump failed. The excessive wear on the fuel pump drive splines were most likely due to a lack of lubricant, which may have leaked out through an improper seal. The wrong seal was noted, but it is not obvious when this wrong part was installed, or even if this was a contributor to the failure.
It’s a pretty good read. Here is the actual NTSB report: LINK