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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
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General details
Date: 01 May 1991 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1620  
Location   (show map):10 km N Busselton Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Western Australia  
Release date: 24 September 1991  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
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
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Last update 16 November 2015