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As the aircraft was cruising at 2500 feet above mean sea level the pilot noticed a vibration in the airframe. He reduced the manifold air pressure setting slightly and the vibration stopped. A short time later the aircraft lost directional control and began to spiral to the right. The pilot was unable to stop the rotation and when the helicopter landed it rolled over. Investigation showed that the lower vertical fin attachment brackets had failed, which caused the fin to separate in flight and strike the tail rotor. The tail rotor assembly and gearbox then completely detached from the tail boom. The fatigue failure of the fin was caused by vibrations emanating from worn components and bearings in the tail rotor and its gearbox. These parts were recently taken from another helicopter and fitted to the subject machine, their previous condition could not be determined. A recent service inspection failed to detect the worn components or the weakened lower fin. The wear in these components was also not noticed during the pre-flight inspections that were carried out between that service and the accident flight.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 13 September 1986 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1605  
Location:37km NNE of Kalannie Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Western Australia Occurrence type: Airframe - Other 
Release date: 18 November 1987 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Robinson Helicopter Co 
Aircraft model: R22 
Aircraft registration: VH-UXQ 
Serial number: 299 
Type of operation: Private 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Paynes Find WA
Departure time:1605
Destination:Wongan Hills WA
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