Aviation safety investigations & reports

Robinson R22A, VH-UXM, 11 km SE of Mildura VIC, 4 July 1984

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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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    
State: Victoria    
Release date: 30 January 1985   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

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  
Last update 01 April 2011