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On 22 November 1991 at 0912 hours Australian Central Standard Time (Greenwich Mean Time + 9.5 h), a Bell 214ST helicopter was ditched into the Timor Sea shortly after takeoff from a floating production facility. The two crew and 15 passengers evacuated uninjured from the floating helicopter, prior to the right main flotation bag being punctured and the helicopter capsizing. The report concludes that at a critical stage of the takeoff, at an altitude of approximately 120 ft above the sea, one of the engines experienced a high-side speed excursion. This was followed by an aircraft main rotor speed increase which illuminated a cockpit indication warning that the aircraft main rotor speed was out of limits. The captain reacted to what he thought was an engine power loss by lowering the collective, which is the prescribed response to that situation, thereby unloading the main rotor which rapidly accelerated to 116.7%. The electrical control unit of the ungoverned engine, sensing a power turbine overspeed, actuated the fuel sequence valve to shut off fuel to the engine. As the over speeding engine accelerated, the other engine, while attempting to compensate, decelerated to idle power because of the lowered collective command. The captain's action in lowering the collective exacerbated the rapidity of the event, and because of insufficient aircraft altitude, there was not enough time for the engine still under power to pick up the load, or for the captain to take further corrective action to avoid a sea ditching. At the time of the emergency, the captain was demonstrating a takeoff to his co-pilot.
Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 2.5MB]
General details
Date: 22 November 1991 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0912 ESuT  
Location   (show map):Timor Sea Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Western Australia  
Release date: 20 June 1993  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Co 
Aircraft model: 214 
Aircraft registration: VH-HOQ 
Serial number: 28121 
Type of operation: Charter 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Skua Venture
Destination:Troughton Island WA
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Last update 13 May 2014