If a helicopter is reported by the NTSB as Destroyed in their Accident report, and as they make no disposal recommendation in their reports, can the aircraft be legally rebuilt by an authorized and approved FAA and Bell Repair facility and flown again?

Follow up:

The aircraft in question, after using Bell referenced repairs, carried out by a Bell Licensed Repair facility, in a Bell Certified Jig, now has its Certificate of Airworthiness and is again Supported by Bell and has a handsome price tag.

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    $\begingroup$ Is that a question with a specific case in mind? Could you consider adding a reference to the investigation report? $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 5:43
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    $\begingroup$ As for cars insurance, a good question is the cost of repairs compared to the cost of the helicopter before the crash. $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 12:43

2 Answers 2


The NTSB defines Destroyed as

Damaged due to impact, fire, or in-flight failures to an extent not economically repairable.

Another common definition is:

The estimated or likely cost of repairs would have exceeded 50 percent of the new value of the airplane had it still been in production at the time of the accident.

This fact that the costs of repairing are estimated to be exceed the economical value of the aircraft does technically not prevent the aircraft to be repaired and made flyable again. It can be recertified on the original airworthiness certificate. See FAA order 8130.2H. Special attention needs to be given to the identification plate (serial numbers etc.) of the aircraft; the original plates of the aircraft have to be installed.

Do not expect any support from Bell as on their website they state:

There are some aircraft that have been destroyed in an accident or retired from service that are no longer considered to be genuine Bell Helicopter Aircraft. These aircraft will not be supported by Bell Helicopter.

This makes resurrected Bell helicopters very difficult to sell in the future.

  • $\begingroup$ Difficult to sell, perhaps, but it seems that one could actually rebuild it and get it certified for flight again. Since it's been written off, this would likely cost more than one could get in an attempt to resell it, so it would be done out of love or insanity, and, therefore, resale value probably isn't an important issue for one doing so. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 20:24

Any aircraft or helicopter listed as Destroyed by either the FAA or NTSB or both, cannot be rebuilt. Check the FAR's.

  • $\begingroup$ If this is correct, we would prefer an answer that cites the relevant FAR's as the previous answer does. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 23:17
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    $\begingroup$ It can be done with written approval from the FAA. Read paragraph 207.d. of Order 8130.2H. There is of course, no guarantee that approval will be granted, but it is possible. $\endgroup$
    – Gerry
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 3:08

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