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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.) Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Airframe - Other 
Release date: 17 November 1986 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Serious 
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
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