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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

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General details
Date: 23 July 2013 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0950 EST  
Location   (show map):11 km E of Amberley airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction 
Release date: 31 October 2013 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
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
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Last update 14 November 2018