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The culler had just made a kill and the pilot prepared to land so that the beast could be bled. He selected an area of short grass and set the helicopter down with the engine over the barest area. Prior to landing the pilot briefed the culler on the need to deplane quickly to minimise the risk of a ground fire from grass ignited by the hot exhaust. The pilot intended to take-off as soon as possible and return for his passenger when the ground task was finished. Soon after the passenger had deplaned, the pilot was attempting to build up the rotor RPM when he became aware of smoke and flames. He reported that the engine was not responding to throttle input, and when he pulled the collective for liftoff, the engine lost all power and the helicopter settled onto the ground from a few feet. The aircraft was enveloped in flames as the pilot left the cockpit, and it was destroyed by fire. A fenceline cleared of grass existed some 70 metres away, but the pilot was intent of remaining clear of dust areas to prevent wear in the tail rotor assembly. He judged that there was a minimum risk of fire in the area selected for landing, and it was clear of the obstruction posed by the fence. There were no reported aircraft defects or fuel leaks.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 23KB]
General details
Date: 17 August 1988 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1500  
Location:20 km NE Tipperary Station Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Northern Territory Occurrence type: Fire 
Release date: 27 October 1988 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Robinson Helicopter Co 
Aircraft model: R22 
Aircraft registration: VH-HFN 
Serial number: 634 
Type of operation: Aerial Work 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Destroyed 
Departure point:Tipperary Station NT
Departure time:1440
Destination:Tipperary Station NT
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