Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain - Robinson Helicopter R22 Beta II, VH-OML, Gold Coast Airport, Queensland, 2 July 2009

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 2 July 2009, the pilot of a Robinson Helicopter Company R22 Beta II, registered VH-OML, was conducting solo circuit training from the Gold Coast Aerodrome, Queensland. Weather conditions in the area at the time were fine, with light and variable winds.

At about 1015 Eastern Standard Time, the helicopter impacted terrain near the southern aerodrome boundary. The pilot was fatally injured and the helicopter seriously damaged.

There was no evidence of a pre-existing mechanical problem with the helicopter. The pilot had extensive previous experience in aeroplanes and the flight was his sixth solo helicopter flight towards his Private Pilot (Helicopter) Licence. The investigation found that the accident may have been a function of the pilot's control inputs.

As a result of this investigation, the helicopter operator has made a number of changes to their induction process, including the annotation in company records of instructors' ratings and their respective validity periods. In addition, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has advised that it will review the requirements for initial pilot training and endorsement and recurrent training on Robinson R22 helicopters. Included will be a review of the Helicopter Flight Instructor's Manual to ensure that the required competencies are being covered by flight instructors and trained to students.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has issued a Safety Advisory Notice suggesting that operators consider action to ensure the validity of pilots' qualifications and ratings, and that competency standards are met.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 4.56MB]

Safety Issues

Go to AO-2009-032-SI-01 - Go to AO-2009-032-SI-02 -

Instructor induction process

The helicopter operator's induction checklist did not include the notation of instructors’ ratings and validity periods.

Safety issue details
Issue number: AO-2009-032-SI-01
Who it affects: The helicopter operator
Status: Adequately addressed

Robinson training requirements

There were no specific training requirements for Robinson helicopters in Australia, such as those in Federal Aviation Administration Special Federal Aviation Regulation 73-2.

Safety issue details
Issue number: AO-2009-032-SI-02
Who it affects: Robinson R22 pilots
Status: Adequately addressed
General details
Date: 02 July 2009   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1015 EST   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Gold Coast Airport    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 28 July 2010   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-OML  
Serial number 4312  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Serious  
Departure point Gold Coast, Qld  
Destination Gold Coast, Qld  
Last update 03 April 2020