Aviation safety investigations & reports

HUGHES 269C, VH-WAA, Cheviot Hills, 139 km NNW of Hughenden QLD, 11 February 1986

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The helicopter was being used as an platform for test equipment. Part of the test equipment included an aerial that was mounted vertically below the helicopter. This aerial could be retracted and stowed in a horizontal position for landing by operating a control which was positioned in front of the technician. On this occasion the pilot inadvertently attempted to land the helicopter with the aerial extended. Just prior to touch down the helicopter began to vibrate, the pilot lowered the collective and the helicopter rolled onto its right side. Following the completion of each test it was normal for the technician to raise the aerial prior to landing. On this occasion, the technician became engrossed with the transmission of test data and forgot to retract the aerial. The pilot was concentrating on the landing and neglected to ensure that the aerial had been retracted. Normally if a landing is attempted with the aerial extended a weak link in the system fails and the aerial is retracted by a spring. However, it is believed that because the helicopter touched down with little forward speed the weak link did not fail at the required time in the landing sequence.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 11 February 1986   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1415    
Location: Cheviot Hills, 139 km NNW of Hughenden    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Loss of control  
Release date: 22 May 1986   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Hughes Helicopters  
Aircraft model 269  
Aircraft registration VH-WAA  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Cheviot Hills QLD  
Departure time 1415  
Destination Cheviot Hills QLD