R-22 Drive-Belt Problem Focus Of Probe

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The Canadian Transportation Safety Board is trying to figure out why the drive belt came off a Robinson R-22 helicopter, resulting in a crash that killed its pilot in August. The chopper suffered the "sudden loss of power" over a lake on Vancouver Island. Spokesman Bill Yearwood said that although the pilot initiated autorotation, he apparently flared too high and the aircraft plunged vertically into McGyver Lake, near Campbell River. Yearwood said safety board technicians have spent the last couple of months going through the helicopter's drive system to see if the problem is a design fault or a maintenance error. He did say the belt appears to be the wrong size for the helicopter. Technicians are also examining the electrically operated belt-tensioning system.