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