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The Bell 206 helicopter was being operated on water-bombing tasks in support of fire-fighting east of Armidale, NSW. As the pilot commenced a climb following water pick-up, the `engine out’ audio warning sounded and the master warning annunciator illuminated as the engine failed. The pilot jettisoned the water and Bambi bucket, and conducted an autorotative descent into a cleared area. During the landing the helicopter’s main rotor contacted the tail boom and severed the tail rotor assembly. The pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The pilot indicated that immediately following the accident, he drained approximately 0.5L of fuel from the helicopter to check for water contamination and fuel boost pump operation.
General details
Date: 01 October 2003 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1300 hours EST  
Location   (show map):40 km E Armidale, (NDB) Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Fuel starvation 
Release date: 12 July 2004 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Co 
Aircraft model: 206 
Aircraft registration: VH-EWH 
Serial number: 1380 
Type of operation: Aerial Work 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:East of Armidale, NSW
Departure time:1120 hours EST
Destination:East of Armidale, NSW
Crew details
RoleClass of licenceHours on typeHours total
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Last update 13 May 2014