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On 10 June 2012, a Robinson Helicopter Company R44 Raven 1, registered VH-HOU, was seriously damaged following a reported loss of power and collision with terrain near Maryvale Northern Territory. On board the helicopter were a pilot and three passengers. One passenger was seriously injured as a result of the accident.

The helicopter was to provide support and aerial filming of a competitor participating in the annual Finke Desert race. A definitive reason for the reported loss of engine power could not be determined. However a review of the carburettor icing chart reveals that the temperature / dew point spread, put the accident flight in the “Serious Icing – Descent Power” operating realm.

The helicopter manufacturer has previously issued a Safety Notice in regard to the use of the carburettor heat assistance system, warning that if used it will reduce carburettor heat on lift off and may require adjustment in flight.

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 12

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General details
Date: 10 June 2012 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0931 UTC  
Location   (show map):93 km S Alice Springs Airport (near Maryvale) Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Northern Territory Occurrence type: Collision with terrain 
Release date: 29 October 2012 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Serious 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Robinson Helicopter Co 
Aircraft model: R44 
Aircraft registration: VH-HOU 
Serial number: 1673 
Type of operation: Charter 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Serious 
Departure point:Finke Desert
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Last update 18 April 2018