Aviation safety investigations & reports

Robinson R22A, VH-HBQ, 5 km South of Warooka SA, 14 October 1985

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]

The pilot positioned the helicopter on the downwind leg of the circuit at an altitude of about 300 feet agl. The wind was gusting between 30 and 35 knots. Towards the end of the downwind leg the pilot noticed that the helicopter was yawing to the right and that a high rate of descent had developed. The pilot applied full power and lowered the collective slightly. The helicopter continued to descend and the pilot applied full up collective, but the helicopter struck the ground heavily and bounced. On the second touchdown, the tail rotor struck the ground and broke off. At the point of turning downwind, the helicopter was being flown at an indicated airspeed of 30 knots. On downwind it is probable that the pilot unwittingly allowed the indicated airspeed to decrease well below translational lift because of the rapid increase in groundspeed, resulting from the 30 knot tailwind. Had the helicopter touched down at zero indicated airspeed, when travelling downwind, it would have contacted the ground at 30 knots groundspeed and travelled a considerable distance along the ground. However, the helicopter travelled only about 12 metres after the first point of touchdown. This indicates that prior to touchdown, the helicopter was probably flying backwards in relation to the airmass in which it was operating, and was effected by the downwash from the main rotor blades. In such a situation there would have been insufficient altitude or power available to arrest the rate of descent.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 14 October 1985   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0955(Aprx)    
Location: 5 km South of Warooka    
State: South Australia   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 04 April 1986   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-HBQ  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Warooka SA  
Departure time 0955(Aprx)  
Destination 5 km South of Warooka SA