Aviation safety investigations & reports

Bell 206B, VH-BLR, McDonald's Farm (22km WSW Waikerie) SA, 20 September 1987

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The helicopter was flying at 40' above ground level to enable the cameraman to film a vehicle. The crew heard a loud bang and the pilot suspected an engine failure so he commenced an autorotation. However, he quickly found that the engine responded normally to power changes but not knowing what had caused the noise, he decided to land on suitable terrain just ahead. After they had exited the helicopter, the cameraman reported to the pilot that he saw a wire just prior to hearing the noise. Inspection of the machine confirmed that it had suffered a wirestrike. The task required a high degree of attention on the movements of the vehicle in order to position the helicopter as required by the cameraman. The pilot did not have a low flying approval and his supervisor had instructed him not to descend below 100 feet above ground level, however he complied with the cameraman's request to fly as low as possible. The person occupying the left seat was not trained as an observer for this type of operation. The supporting poles for the wire struck by the helicopter were widely spaced and one was obscured by a stand of trees.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 20 September 1987   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1345    
Location: McDonald's Farm (22km WSW Waikerie)    
State: South Australia   Occurrence type: Wirestrike  
Release date: 16 December 1987   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Bell Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model 206  
Aircraft registration VH-BLR  
Serial number 1309  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point McDonald's Farm Helipad (14km WSW Waikerie) SA  
Departure time 1310  
Destination McDonald's Farm Helipad SA