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Summary

Summary

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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