On 13 June 2010, a Robinson Helicopter Co. R22 Beta, registered VH-RPN, was engaged in aerial cattle mustering operations on a station property about 257 km east-north-east of Derby, Western Australia. During those operations, the helicopter collided with the ground and caught fire. The pilot, the sole occupant of the helicopter, sustained fatal injuries.
The investigation found that the helicopter had a high descent rate and some forward speed at impact but, due to the lack of evidence as a function of the type and location of the operation, was unable to positively establish any further contributing factors.
The investigation did not identify any organisational or systemic issues that might adversely affect the future safety of aviation operations. However, the accident provides a reminder of the hazards involved in aerial mustering operations that result in, or add to a number of low‑level risks that require close management. Any pilot distraction, aircraft or systems failure, adverse weather or aircraft performance, or handling inattention can reduce the margins for continued safe flight.