On 13 December 2010, a Robinson Helicopter Company R22 Alpha helicopter, registered VH-FDL, departed the Georgetown aeroplane landing area (ALA), Queensland on a private, aerial photography flight over local mine sites.
When returning to Georgetown, at about 150 ft above ground level, the pilot reported that he applied engine power and then heard the engine splutter twice. This was immediately followed by a decrease in engine revolutions per minute (RPM) and the low rotor RPM warning horn sounding. The engine subsequently failed. The pilot regained control of the rotor RPM and conducted a forced landing. During the landing, the helicopter struck trees and contacted the ground heavily. The pilot sustained no injuries, while the passenger sustained serious injuries.
The engine was removed from the helicopter and examined by an independent maintenance organisation. The examination found about 7 to 10 mL of water in the carburettor. A subsequent power test was also conducted and the engine performed without fault.
The helicopter had been refuelled from drum stock on the morning of the accident flight. The drum stock was tested and no contaminants were reported.
An investigation conducted by the helicopter insurer was unable to determine if the water found in the carburettor contributed to the engine failure, or able to identify the source of water contamination.
|Date:||13 December 2010||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||1600 EST||Investigation level:||Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|Location:||9 km N Georgetown|
|State:||Queensland||Occurrence type:||Engine failure or malfunction|
|Release date:||16 May 2011||Occurrence category:||Accident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||Serious|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Robinson Helicopter Co|
|Type of operation||Private|
|Damage to aircraft||Serious|