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.
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|Date:||04 October 2010||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||1030 – 1100 CST (estimated)||Investigation level:||Complex - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|Location:||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 manufacturer||Robinson Helicopter Co|
|Type of operation||Private|
|Damage to aircraft||Serious|
|Departure point||Mountain Valley Station, NT|
|Destination||Mountain Valley Station, NT|