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In a report to the Bureau the operator advised that the pilot was ferrying the Robinson R22 helicopter from Darwin to Katherine for maintenance when the pilot heard an unusual noise and decide to land to carry out an inspection. The helicopter was landed in a clearing 135 km south east of Darwin but no obvious defects were found. The operator advised that shortly after taking off to continue the flight the noise was again evident, but worse. The helicopter crashed while attempting a precautionary landing. Another agency involved with the occurrence was informed that the pilot felt a vibration while in flight and landed to investigate. He carried out a walk round inspection with the engine running and rotors turning but found nothing untoward. During the subsequent takeoff he had to clear a knoll some 300ft high approximately 150m ahead. The pilot claimed there was no vibration evident during lift off and in hover, but as he accelerated there was a loud crack and from then on he was unsure of the events that followed.

The BASI investigation was unable to have the pilot respond to a request for additional clarifying information, nor did the pilot return telephone calls. A strip down examination of the helicopter failed to disclose any mechanical problem that may have resulted in the symptoms reported by the operator and the pilot. The personnel who recovered the helicopter found evidence that the tail rotor blades had impacted shrubs, most probably as the helicopter departed the clearing.

The investigation was not able to establish why the pilot had landed in the clearing.

Download Final Report
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General details
Date: 24 November 1997 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 8:00 CST Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
 Occurrence type:Collision with terrain 
 Occurrence class: Operational 
Release date: 18 February 1998 Occurrence category: Accident 
Report status: Final  
 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Robinson Helicopter Co 
Aircraft model: R22 BETA 
Aircraft registration: VH-JDB 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Darwin NT
Destination:Katherine NT
 
 
 
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Last update 28 October 2014