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The helicopter, on a sightseeing flight, had completed a circuit of Cairns Harbour before climbing-out towards Green Island. A noise was heard from the rear of the helicopter, accompanied by a rotation to the right. An autorotation was initiated and the helicopter landed on the nearby mudflats. The right skid-legs collapsed on touchdown, which resulted in the helicopter rolling onto its right side. The occupants evacuated and were rescued by a fishing boat. The tail rotor and part of its associated gearbox had separated from the helicopter. The pilot regained directional control when an autorotation was commenced. However,as the helicopter was over water he attempted to carry out a zero forward speed landing, rather than a "run on" type which is the procedure recommended by the manufacturer when loss of tail rotor effectiveness occurs. Thus, when collective pitch was applied to reduce the rate of descent prior to landing, the helicopter again commenced to rotate and touchdown occurred whilst turning to the right. The components which had become detached in flight were not recovered, thus the reason for the failure of the assembly could not be positively determined. However, specialist examinations indicated that the fracture was due to a limited number of high stress cycles, this is not consistent with normal in service loads.

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[ Download PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 15 December 1984 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1118  
Location:Trinity Inlet, Cairns Harbour, QLD. Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland  
Release date: 04 June 1986  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Hughes Helicopters 
Aircraft model: 369 
Aircraft registration: N9215F 
Type of operation: Private 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:M.V. "Carol Linda" berthed Cairns Harbour, QLD.
Departure time:1118
Destination:Green Island, 27 km NE Cairns, QLD.
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Last update 01 April 2011