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Due to a loose seat belt banging against the fuselage of the helicpoter, the pilot slowed the aircraft and commenced an approach to land as soon as possible. The chosen approach path had a tailwind of between 15 and 20 knots. Shortly after commencing the approach, the rate of descent increased rapidly and the pilot's application of collective pitch to correct the situation further increased the descent rate. During the approach, both the audio and visual annunciators indicated that the engine had failed. The pilot lowered collective but then had to flare as the aircraft was about to impact a small mulga tree. The aircraft cleared that tree but was damaged as a result of a collision with a nearby tree. The rapid rate of descent experienced whilst descending downwind with a low forward speed is typical of an aircraft which has settled in its own main rotor downwash, i.e in a Vortex Ring State. No defect was found in the engine which might have explained the reported engine failure. It is possible that the pilot inadvertantly selected the throttle to the engine shut-off position as he commenced autorotative flight.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 10 November 1987 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1055  
Location:78km S of Mount Magnet Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Western Australia Occurrence type: Loss of control 
Release date: 08 August 1988 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Co 
Aircraft model: 206 
Aircraft registration: VH-AZH 
Serial number: 3075 
Type of operation: Aerial Work 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:79km S Mt Magnet WA
Departure time:1053
Destination:78km S Mt Magnet WA
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Last update 13 May 2014