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The aircraft departed Camden on the previous afternoon for a ferry flight to the Kununurra area, with an overnight stop near Eildon, Victoria. About 35 kilometres from Mildura the pilot reported that he was landing due to a vibration. After inspecting the aircraft he continued with the flight but later made a brief Mayday call. Witnesses reported that the engine was running intermittently before the helicopter landed heavily, tail-down, in a vineyard. A contaminant, sufficient in quantity to restrict the flow of fuel, was found in the fuel system filter. The source of the contaminant could not be identified, however an identical polyester material was found in the fuel filter of another new helicopter of the same type. It is probable that the material was present prior to the import of the helicopters. The fuel filters were not inspected prior to the first flight. The helicopter was being operated on super motor spirit at the time but it is considered unlikely, in this instance, to have been the major factor in the engine failure. Due to the pilot's incorrect diagnosis that the power surges were associated with a main rotor problem, he progressively opened the throttle in an attempt to maintain rotor rpm. This action combined with the momentary power surges, exacerbated control difficulties being experienced and resulted in a belated autorotative landing.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 04 July 1984 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: N/K  
Location:11 km SE of Mildura Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Victoria  
Release date: 30 January 1985  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Minor 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Robinson Helicopter Co 
Aircraft model: R22 
Aircraft registration: VH-UXM 
Type of operation: Aerial Work 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Swan Hill VIC
Departure time:N/K
Destination:Mildura VIC
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Last update 01 April 2011