Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain - Robinson R22 Beta helicopter, VH-THI, 170 km east of Katherine, Northern Territory, 4 October 2010

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 4 October 2010, the pilot of a Robinson Helicopter R22 Beta, registered VH‑THI, was conducting cattle mustering operations on a station property about 170 km east of Katherine, Northern Territory. During those operations, the helicopter collided with the ground. The pilot, the sole occupant of the helicopter, sustained fatal injuries. The helicopter was seriously damaged.

The investigation determined that the collision with terrain was probably a result of engine stoppage while operating at low altitude. The investigation also determined that the helicopter was serviceable prior to the collision with the terrain and that the engine stoppage was probably due to fuel exhaustion.

The nature of mustering operations had the potential to divert the pilot's attention away from other safety-critical tasks, such as monitoring the helicopter's fuel state. The circumstances of the accident highlight the importance of pilots and operators using a system to independently verify the fuel quantity in their aircraft's tanks.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 750KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 969KB]


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General details
Date: 04 October 2010   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1030 – 1100 CST (estimated)   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 170 km east of Katherine    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 30 November 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-THI  
Serial number 864  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Serious  
Departure point Mountain Valley Station, NT  
Destination Mountain Valley Station, NT  
Last update 03 April 2020