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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 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Australian Capital Territory Occurrence type: Collision with terrain 
Release date: 11 March 1988 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
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
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