Aviation safety investigations & reports

Aerospatiale AS355, VH-NJL, 10 km N Busselton WA, 1 May 1991

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The aircraft was engaged in a medical evacuation flight carrying an injured crewman from a ship located west of Augusta. During the turn around at Augusta the pilot noticed that one corner of the polyurethane covering on one tail rotor blade was lifting. After consulting the company engineer in Perth the pilot cut the loose material from the blade and continued with the flight to Perth. Slight vibration was felt after approximately 30 minutes and 15 seconds later the vibration became severe. The pilot carried out a precautionary landing. An inspection of the tail rotor blades indicated that a significant amount of the polyurethane covering on the blade not modified by the pilot had been lost. The blade's polyurethane covering had been replaced approximately 4 hours before the occurrence. The bonding process used, although in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, was defective. The manufacturer had developed a new process prior to the occurrence, however, details of this had not reached the Sydney based overhaul facility at the time the cover was replaced.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 01 May 1991   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1620    
Location   (show map): 10 km N Busselton    
State: Western Australia    
Release date: 24 September 1991   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Aerospatiale Industries  
Aircraft model AS355  
Aircraft registration VH-NJL  
Serial number 5039  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Augusta WA  
Departure time 1606  
Destination Bunbury WA  
Last update 16 November 2015