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The pilot had planned to operate for 120 minutes before refuelling, and the aircraft had an endurance of 150 minutes. As the aircraft was approaching the refuelling area after a total flight time of 121 minutes, the engine failed. The pilot carried out an autorotative landing, but on touchdown one landing skid became entangled in a large tuft of grass. Believing that the aircraft would roll over, the pilot applied rearward cyclic control. The main rotor severed the tail boom, but the aircraft remained in an upright attitude. Inspection revealed that the engine failed due to fuel exhaustion. Both the fuel gauge and the low fuel warning system were faulty, although the pilot was unaware of this fact. No reason for the apparently higher than normal fuel consumption during the flight could be found.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 16 July 1986 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1100  
Location   (show map):4 km SE Bunda Station(170 km SSE Kununurra WA) Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Northern Territory Occurrence type: Powerplant/propulsion - Other 
Release date: 12 May 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-UXM 
Type of operation: Aerial Work 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Bunda NT
Departure time:1100
Destination:Bunda NT
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Last update 17 March 2016