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The pilot was positioning the aircraft so that a left-handed shooter could take aim and shoot from the left seat. The aircraft was at about 40 feet above ground level and with minimal forward speed when the engine suddenly began running roughly and, after several back-fires, stopped. The pilot was unable to enter auto-rotation and the aircraft landed heavily. The main rotor struck and severed the tail boom and the aircraft skids were flattened during the impact. Inspection of the wreckage revealed that the fuel selector was partially closed and that insufficient fuel, for normal operation, was able to reach the engine.

An assessment of the sequence of events indicates that it is probable that, as the shooter was positioning the rifle for the shot, its butt made contact with the unprotected fuel selector lever and moved it to the partially closed position. The height at which the engine failure occurred prevented the pilot from cushioning the landing. Safety Action During the initial stages of the investigation, the Bureau issued Interim Recommendation IR930075 to the Civil Aviation Authority. It recommended: That the Civil Aviation Authority advise R22 operators of the possibility for unintentional movement of the rear bulkhead mounted fuel selector and consider implementing a requirement for fuel selector protection to minimise inadvertent operation. They subsequently advised that the Authority was in agreement with the recommendation and had issued an appropriate letter to all R22 operators on the matter. The Robinson Helicopter Company had also been advised of the accident and would be forwarded a copy of the letter.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 13KB]
General details
Date: 07 May 1993 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 11:15 WST  
 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
 Occurrence type: Fuel starvation 
Release date: 11 March 1994 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Minor 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Robinson Helicopter Co 
Aircraft model: R22 BETA 
Aircraft registration: VH-HLK 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Palm Well WA
Destination:Palm Well WA
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Last update 23 July 2015