Aviation safety investigations & reports

Bell 47G-5, VH-SJA, Punjaub Station, Sand Waterhole (51 km SW of Burketown QLD.), 28 June 1985

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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Just after take-off, at about 30 feet above ground level, a loud bang was heard and the helicopter started rotating rapidly. The pilot manoeuvred the helicopter clear of fuel drums but it landed heavily while moving rearward. Initial inspection of the helicopter revealed that the tail rotor drive forward short shaft had become disconnected after the failure of the top left longeron. The longeron had failed as a result of high cycle, low stress fatigue. The failure had been developing for some time and should have been noted by maintenance personnel. The decision to take-off over fuel drums restricted the pilot's choices of suitable landing areas and complicated the emergency landing attempt.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 28 June 1985   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: N/A    
Location: Punjaub Station, Sand Waterhole (51 km SW of Burketown QLD.)    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Airframe - Other  
Release date: 17 November 1986   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Serious  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Bell Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model 47  
Aircraft registration VH-SJA  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Sand Waterhole QLD  
Departure time N/A  
Destination Sand Waterhole QLD