Aviation safety investigations & reports

Loss of control – Browns Is. Port Hedland, WA, VH-KVN

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 4 January 2006 at approximately 1753 Western Standard Time , the pilot of a Eurocopter France AS 350D helicopter, registered VH-KVN, experienced a control problem and the helicopter impacted the ground in a right roll attitude. All occupants escaped with minor injuries. The helicopter was chartered to undertake the establishment and the subsequent recovery of electronic survey markers through the Pilbara area of Western Australia.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) did not attend the accident site. Shortly after the accident, the ATSB was approached by the French Bureau Enquetes - Accident (BEA) for assistance in examining the helicopter control system. The ATSB provided the BEA with information regarding access to the helicopter, its availability for detailed examination and photographs from the accident site obtained from the insurance company and the operator's report.

Following a BEA request, the ATSB arranged for the hydraulic oil to be drained and retained for further analysis and facilitated the removal of the helicopter's hydraulic pump. The removal of the pump revealed that the splines on the hydraulic pump and the belt coupling were worn to the point that the pump would not have been operating.

The BEA authorized the helicopter manufacturer to examine the helicopter on 20 and 21 March 2006 on their behalf. At the time of issue of this report the BEA had no additional information in relation to the examination.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 335KB]
General details
Date: 04 January 2006   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1753 WST    
Location   (show map): near Port Hedland Heliport    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Hydraulic  
Release date: 24 October 2006   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Aerospatiale Industries  
Aircraft model AS350  
Aircraft registration VH-KVN  
Serial number 2235  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure time 0800  
Destination Port Hedland, WA  
Last update 16 November 2015