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On 13 May 2011, at 1606 Eastern Standard Time, an Aérospatiale Eurocopter AS 350B3 helicopter, registered VH-XXW, impacted terrain at Bankstown Airport, New South Wales. As the result of the post-impact fire, the helicopter sustained serious damage.

The owner-pilot had earlier completed an 'air transit' at about 15-20 ft above ground level (AGL), from outside a hangar, to a grassed area south-west of the main helipad.

While stationary in a hover, with a recorded 15 kt wind onto the right front of the helicopter, and at about 10 ft AGL, the pilot decided to land on the grass. When the helicopter was about 2 ft AGL, the pilot stated that it suddenly rotated to the left in an anticlockwise direction. The pilot was unable to correct the anticlockwise yaw with progressive right pedal input. The pilot then raised the collective lever and climbed to about 10 ft AGL, completing about three to four, 360 º rotations.

At the same time, the pilot noticed the helicopter drifting towards a chain-wire fence adjacent to a freight building. During the uncontrolled anticlockwise yaw, the pilot reported that there were no visual or aural warnings. While still rotating, the pilot decided to conduct a forced landing and slowly lowered the collective lever. The helicopter contacted the ground, rolled onto its right side and was seriously damaged from the post-impact fuel fed fire. The pilot sustained minor injuries.

Download Final Report - Bulletin
[ Download PDF: 5.43MB]
General details
Date: 13 May 2011 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1600 EST  
Location   (show map):Bankstown Airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Loss of control 
Release date: 12 December 2011 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Minor 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Eurocopter 
Aircraft model: AS350 
Aircraft registration: VH-XXW 
Serial number: 7053 
Type of operation: General Aviation-Unknown 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Serious 
Departure point:Bankstown, NSW
Destination:Bankstown, NSW
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Last update 16 November 2015