Aviation safety investigations & reports

Hughes 269C, VH-HJD, Canberra ACT, 12 February 1988

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The flight was to be a period of solo practice exercises following the completion of a Commercial Licence flight test a number of weeks earlier. The pilot conducted a number of circuits and landings, and on this circuit was carrying out a power termination autorotation landing from 800 feet above the ground. As he commenced levelling the helicopter from the flare, he felt a bump at the tail. He landed the helicopter and shut the engine down. An inspection revealed that the tail rotor had contacted the ground, severing the tail rotor blades. The resultant vibration and imbalance caused the tail boom to fracture and the horizontal stabiliser to became detached. No pre-existing defect was found with the helicopter which could have contributed to the occurrence. It was evident that the pilot had misjudged his height above the ground during the landing flare.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 12 February 1988   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 951    
Location: Canberra    
State: Australian Capital Territory   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 11 March 1988   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Hughes Helicopters  
Aircraft model 269  
Aircraft registration VH-HJD  
Serial number 640317  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Canberra ACT  
Departure time 0946  
Destination Canberra ACT