Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain - Robinson R22 Beta II, VH-HXO, 120 km west of Paraburdoo, WA, 25-26 June 2009

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 24 June 2009, the pilot of a Robinson Helicopter R22 Beta II, registered VH-HXO, departed Mareeba, Queensland on a private flight to Uaroo, Western Australia (WA) as the helicopter had been contracted to an operator for aerial mustering tasks. After an overnight stay at Alice Springs, Northern Territory, the pilot departed for Uaroo on 25 June 2009. The last known stop for the pilot was the night of 25 June 2009, at Newman, WA. After refuelling, the pilot departed some time during that night. The following morning, after the expected arrival time of the helicopter, and after several attempts to contact the pilot, Australian Search and Rescue commenced a search for the missing helicopter. The wreckage was located about 120 km west of Paraburdoo, WA. The pilot was fatally injured as a result of the accident.

The investigation found no evidence of a pre-existing mechanical problem with the helicopter. After consideration of the available evidence, the investigation concluded that the accident may have been a function of the pilot's control inputs, possibly resulting from pilot fatigue, carburettor icing, night flight, or a combination of these factors.

The investigation did not identify any organisational or systemic issues that might adversely affect the future safety of aviation operations. However, the accident does provide a timely reminder of the need for pilots conducting private operations to consider the impact of fatigue; particularly, during a long flight over a number of days, as was the case in this occurrence.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 6.15MB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 6.89MB]
General details
Date: 26 June 2009   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 2230 WST   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 120 km west of Paraburdoo    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 02 June 2011   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-HXO  
Serial number 2935  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Newman, WA  
Destination Uaroo Station, WA  
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Fatal: 1 0 0 1
Total: 1 0 0 1
Last update 03 April 2020