Aviation safety investigations & reports

Bell 47-G5, VH-SXO, Delta Downs Station QLD, 23 July 1989

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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Whilst conducting mustering operations at low speed and altitude over trees, the engine began to run rough. The helicopter was unable to sustain continued flight and the pilot elected to land. During the landing the rotor blades struck trees and the helicopter landed heavily coming to rest on its side. The pilot was able to crawl to safety after switching the magnetos off, but he was unable to reach the fuel mixture control. The engine subsequently oversped to destruction. The investigations found that the left magneto had suffered an internal failure. The bush supporting the distributor rotor gear had become loose in its housing, allowing the rotor to become mis-timed. During the impact sequence, the magneto earthing wires were fractured which allowed the engine to continue to run despite the pilot switching off the magnetos.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 23 July 1989   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1050    
Location: Delta Downs Station    
State: Queensland    
Release date: 28 September 1990   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Serious  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Bell Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model 47  
Aircraft registration VH-SXO  
Serial number 7811  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Delta Downs Station QLD  
Departure time 0945  
Destination Delta Downs Station QLD