Preliminary report released 6 July 2011
On 9 May 2011 a Robinson Helicopter Company R22 Beta II helicopter (R22), registered VH-DSD (DSD), was conducting mustering operations about 85 km north-west of Julia Creek, Queensland in conjunction with another R22 helicopter. A third R22 was operating independently about 15 km away. At about 1445 Eastern Standard Time, the pilot of DSD made a radio transmission indicating that a problem had occurred and that he was unable to continue flying.
The other pilots flew to the area and discovered the wreckage of DSD and that the pilot, the sole occupant had been fatally injured.
Examination of the wreckage revealed that a drive belt had broken. Two belt fragments were found about 60 m from the main wreckage.
Although the circumstances of the accident are still under investigation, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has, in the interest of transport safety, issued a Safety Advisory Notice stressing the need for continued vigilance by operators and maintenance organisations during the routine inspection of the R22 helicopter's drive system. The attention of pilots is also drawn to the requirement to operate the helicopter within the flight manual limits; specifically, those related to manifold air pressure.