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The pilot reported that he departed Mareeba in company with another R22 helicopter at approximately 1645 EST. The flight was intended to proceed from Mareeba to Cairns via Stoney Creek. The pilot stated that approaching Stoney Creek (5NM west of Cairns aerodrome) they landed to assess the weather further. After consultation with Cairns approach they were advised that Stoney Creek was visible from the control tower. Both helicopters then took off to continue to Cairns. The pilot said that shortly afterwards, and before reaching Stoney Creek the weather ahead deteriorated suddenly, and the pilot decided that they would return to Mareeba. A turn to the right was commenced, and shortly afterwards the helicopter began to yaw uncontrollably to the right, and descended into trees. The passenger was uninjured and was able assist the pilot from the aircraft. The pilot then used his mobile phone to call for assistance and guide the Queensland Emergency Services rescue helicopter to the crash site. The passenger and pilot were winched from the site and flown to the Cairns Base Hospital. Subsequent examination of the helicopter revealed no technical defect which may have contributed to the accident. The pilot described the control loss as an uncommanded yaw to the right, indicating loss of tail rotor authority. The pilot said the last time he observed the indicated airspeed it was 40 knots, and was unable to explain the uncontrolled yaw right. Although there was no discernable horizon at the time, the pilot said he was flying towards a clear area, was visual with the ground, and was clearly visible from the other helicopter which was slightly higher and to his right.
Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 16KB]
General details
Date: 13 June 1997 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 17:10 EST  
 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
 Occurrence type: Loss of control 
Release date: 24 July 1997 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Serious 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Robinson Helicopter Co 
Aircraft model: R22 BETA 
Aircraft registration: VH-POR 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Mareeba QLD
Destination:Cairns QLD
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Last update 28 October 2014