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A helicopter was hovering approximately 10 ft above a ship when one spar section failed explosively. Visual inspection revealed a crack had progressed through one member of a dual spar plate assembly at a fold pin lug hole. The remaining spar plate carried the blade load until the aircraft was landed. The helicopter main rotor blade spar fracture was analyzed by conventional and advanced computerized fractographic techniques. Digital fractographic Imaging Analysis of theoretical and actual fracture surfaces was applied for automatic detection of fatigue striation spacing. The approach offered a means of quantification of fracture features, providing for objective...

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