Aviation safety investigations & reports

Rotor Strike - Maryfield Station, NT; 24 July 2007, VH-VHQ, Robinson Helicopter Co. R22 BETA

Investigation number:
AO-2007-026
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Summary

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On 24 July 2007, at 1500 Central Standard Time, a Robinson R22 Beta helicopter, registered VH-VHQ, with the pilot as the sole occupant, departed from a helipad at Maryfield Station, NT, in order to recommence cattle mustering activities. Visitors to the station, who had recently participated in a number of short local flights, were still in the general area of the helipad during the departure.

The pilot reported that, during the initial climb after takeoff, and at a height not above the tops of the surrounding trees, the helicopter was struck by a gust of wind that resulted in height loss and activation of the helicopter's 'low RPM' warning horn. During the recovery manoeuvre by the pilot, one of the visitors was struck in the head by the helicopter's main rotor and fatally injured.

This accident highlighted the hazards associated with conducting helicopter operations in close proximity to people and the need for positive coordination and control of those people at all times.

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Preliminary

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Preliminary report released 11 September 2007

On 24 July 2007 at 1500 Central Standard Time, a Robinson R22 Beta helicopter, registered VH VHQ, with the pilot the sole occupant, departed from a helipad at Maryfield Station, NT, in order to recommence cattle mustering activities. Visitors to the station, who had recently been given scenic rides in the helicopter, were still in the general area of the helipad at that time.

During the initial climb after takeoff, and at a height of about the tops of the surrounding trees, the helicopter's 'low RPM' warning horn activated. During the recovery manoeuvre by the pilot, one of the visitors was struck in the head by the helicopter's main rotor and was fatally injured. The pilot immediately landed the helicopter.

Download Preliminary Report
[Download  PDF: 275KB]
 
 
 
General details
Date: 24 July 2007   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1500 CST   Investigation level: Complex - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Maryfield Station    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Ground strike  
Release date: 19 December 2008   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model R22  
Aircraft registration VH-VHQ  
Serial number 1890  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Departure point Maryfield Station, NT  
Departure time 1500 CST  
Destination Maryfield Station, NT  
 
Injuries
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Fatal: 0 0 1 1
Total: 0 0 1 1
Last update 14 November 2018