Aviation safety investigations & reports

Total power loss involving a Bell 47G2A, VH-KHJ, 11 km E of Amberley airport, Qld, 23 July 2013

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 23 July 2013, the pilot of a Bell 47G2A helicopter, registered VH‑KHJ (KHJ), departed Lake Manchester, Queensland, on a local aerial photography flight.

The pilot had taken off with carburettor heat on, as it was required for the climb and had then adjusted the amount of carburettor heat required as indicated by the carburettor gauge. He referred to the gauge about every 30 seconds during the flight.

During the third photography shoot, the pilot was climbing through about 1,300 ft above mean sea level (AMSL) when the engine stopped suddenly. 

The pilot established the helicopter in an autorotation. Within 40 seconds of the engine failure, the helicopter landed heavily and was substantially damaged. Neither the pilot nor the photographer was injured.  

Almost no carburettor heat was on, with the lever at about 1/8th of the available travel at the time of the incident. According to the Carburettor Icing Probability chart, the conditions indicated a serious probability of carburettor icing at any power.

All pilots of aircraft fitted with a carburettor are advised to check the forecast conditions and know the risk of carburettor icing prior to each flight.


Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 23

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 375KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 580KB]


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General details
Date: 23 July 2013   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0950 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 11 km E of Amberley airport    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction  
Release date: 31 October 2013   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Bell Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model 47  
Aircraft registration VH-KHJ  
Serial number 478  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Lake Manchester, Qld  
Destination Lake Manchester, Qld  
Last update 14 November 2018