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The pilot reported that when the aircraft was in the cruise at 3500 feet he heard a noise followed by severe vertical and less severe lateral vibration. The aircraft was descended and checks carried out in an attempt to ascertain the cause of the vibration. The cause of the vibration was not determined and the pilot decided to hover taxi the aircraft back to the platform. The aircraft was subsequently landed on a barge without further incident. An inspection of the aircraft found that one of the two lugs on a main rotor blade flapping hinge had failed. The lug fractured as a result of fatigue which originated adjacent to an area of fretting where the blade retaining pin passes through the lug. These lugs had been known to suffer from a defect discovered in service, and the manufacturer introduced a requirement to fit protective washers to the spindle during overhaul in order to prevent the initiating of cracking. The head from this aircraft had been overhauled by the manufacturer some months before the accident and the protective washers were not fitted. The operator had not carried out a recent Maintenance Manual amendment to inspect the lugs of spindles without protective washers. This inspection was not mandatory in Australia at the time of the accident.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 07 May 1987 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1435  
Location:15 km SE of North Rankin `A' Rig Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Western Australia  
Release date: 06 May 1988  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Aerospatiale Industries 
Aircraft model: SA330 
Aircraft registration: VH-WOF 
Type of operation: Charter 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:North Rankin `A' Rig WA
Departure time:1435
Destination:Karratha WA
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Last update 16 November 2015