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.
|Date:||13 May 2011||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||1600 EST||Investigation level:||Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|State:||New South Wales||Occurrence type:||Loss of control|
|Release date:||12 December 2011||Occurrence category:||Accident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||Minor|
|Type of operation||General Aviation-Unknown|
|Damage to aircraft||Serious|
|Departure point||Bankstown, NSW|