The pilot had made only one previous take-off from the Huskisson camp helipad. This was during an area
familiarisation flight which he had conducted earlier in the day. Prior to the familiarisation flight he had not
flown a Bell 47 series aircraft for several months.
The aircraft load on take-off consisted of two passengers and 35 pounds of baggage and freight. The temperature
was about 18 degrees centigrade and a light north-easterly breeze gave a tailwind component of 3 to 5 knots
in the take-off direction. The flight path after take-off was dictated by the terrain and lay across a heavilytimbered
gully towards a saddle slightly higher than the pad. During the lift-off and initial hover the engine
operation appeared normal. Because of the tailwind an increase in power became necessary during transition
to forward flight. After travelling about 100 yards, during which time he applied full power, the pilot decided
that the aircraft would be unable to clear the trees ahead. He turned back towards the take-off point and, when
it became apparent that the rotor speed was decaying, continued the turn and allowed the aircraft to settle
towards a partly-cleared area at the bottom of the gully. At a height of about 40 feet, the main rotor struck the
surrounding trees. The aircraft fell heavily to the ground and burst into flames on impact.