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The aircraft was carrying out a short familiarisation flight before beginning the day's powerline inspection program. On board were the pilot and the owner of the property being used as a temporary base for operations. The aircraft took off toward the east over a flat paddock, the pilot's intention being to turn north from a point near the centre of the paddock then to intercept an east-west powerline and to follow that line westwards. While still tracking east, at about 20 feet altitude, the aircraft struck and snapped a north-south powerline crossing the takeoff path. The aircraft then continued forward for about 60 metres before impacting the ground and coming to rest five metres beyond the impact point. An eyewitness to the accident stated that he was 'almost certain' that he had informed the pilot of the existence of the north-south powerline when the aircraft had first arrived at the property, seven days before the accident. The pilot stated that he had no prior knowledge of the line. The aircraft had taken off from the pad at least three times and had landed at the pad at least four times since first arrival. All prior movements had been to the west of the pad and the pilot had not been reminded about the line. Prior to takeoff on the day of the accident, the pilot briefed the passenger about the proposed profile of the flight and asked the passenger for any comments. The passenger agreed with the proposed profile but did not mention the north-south powerline. The pilot looked to the east to note any obstructions but did not see the line which was very difficult to see from the takeoff point. In addition, due to the relatively low position of the sun in the north-eastern sky, glare may have adversely affected his vision. Further, the flat, open terrain did not provide any visual cues to alert him to the requirement for obstruction clearance. However, the pilot did not closely inspect the takeoff path from the ground. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any defects in the aircraft which may have contributed to the accident. The performance capability of the aircraft was such that the climb gradient required to clear the powerline could have been easily achieved.

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[ Download PDF: 24KB]
General details
Date: 23 October 1990 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 730  
Location   (show map):Green Vale' Barellan Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Wirestrike 
Release date: 23 July 1991 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Fatal 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Hughes Helicopters 
Aircraft model: 269 
Aircraft registration: VH-KHO 
Serial number: 900956 
Type of operation: Aerial Work 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Destroyed 
Departure point:Green Vale' Barellan
Departure time:N/A
Destination:Green Vale' Barellan
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