Aviation safety investigations & reports

Loss of Control; St Kilda, Vic; VH-WYS Robinson Helicopter Company R44

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 12 February 2006, the pilot of a Robinson Helicopter Company R44 Raven II Newscopter, registered VH-WYS, was conducting aerial filming of a banner towing helicopter in the vicinity of Williamstown, Vic. On board with the pilot were a photographer in the front left seat and a gyro-stabilised camera operator in the rear left seat.

While in a turn at low airspeed, and with a quartering tailwind, the helicopter began an uncommanded yaw to the right. The pilot attempted to regain control but the helicopter continued to rotate to the right and descended approximately 1,800 ft before control was regained. The helicopter was flown to a nearby beach and landed.

The reported ambient conditions and nature of the loss of control were consistent with the pilot report that the helicopter had suffered a loss of tail rotor effectiveness (LTE). It was possible that the onset of vortex ring state had contributed to the high rate of descent during the pilot's recovery from the LTE.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 680KB]
General details
Date: 12 February 2006   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1229 ESuT    
Location   (show map): St Kilda    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Loss of control  
Release date: 08 February 2007   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model R44  
Aircraft registration VH-WYS  
Serial number 10720  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Essendon, Vic  
Departure time 11:30  
Destination Essendon, Vic  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command Commercial 216.2 863.6
Last update 18 April 2018