On 4 May 2011, at about 0730 Eastern Standard Time, a Bell Helicopter B206, registered VH-BNG, struck a single power line and conducted a precautionary landing in a nearby field.
The pilot had commenced end of the season, agricultural spraying operations of sugar cane fields earlier that day and was on his third chemical spray load. While approaching a paddock of four hectares, he calculated that with the required buffer zone of 100 m from each house, the effective spray coverage would only be one hectare. As the pilot flew over one of the houses, his focus was diverted from looking for powerlines, to a resident walking from the house to his car.
While observing the resident, the pilot considered where to start the spray run, taking into account, the buffer zone and that he needed to quickly get low over the cane field. After the pilot had assessed that the resident was comfortable with the presence of the helicopter, his focus moved to commencing the spray run and not to looking for powerlines. The pilot quickly descended the helicopter toward the field to begin the spray run and it struck a power line to the house. After a precautionary landing in the field, the pilot observed that the helicopter had sustained damage to the chin view windows and one main rotor blade.
As a result of this accident, the pilot advised that planning for future operations would be carried out by the pilot, not by persons indirectly involved in the operation.
|Date:||04 May 2011||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||0730 EST||Investigation level:||Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|Location:||Ingham (ALA), East 6 Km|
|Release date:||12 December 2011||Occurrence category:||Serious Incident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||Minor|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Bell Helicopter Co|
|Type of operation||Aerial Work|
|Damage to aircraft||Minor|