On 21 January 2014, a pilot and check pilot were conducting a check flight in a Eurocopter EC120B, registered VH-JYV, at Port Hedland aerodrome, Western Australia.
At about 1600 Western Standard Time (WST), when at about 1,500 ft above ground level, and overhead the runway 32 threshold, the check pilot reduced the throttle to idle and stated that they had a simulated engine failure. The pilot lowered the collective and reduced airspeed, and entered the autorotation, simultaneously commencing a 360° turn. After about 3 seconds, the check pilot observed the ‘GEN’ warning light illuminate. He pushed the generator switch and attempted to restart the generator, without success, and the light remained on. The fuel pressure light then illuminated and the check pilot selected the electric fuel pump on. The engine turbine continued to wind down and, when about 800 ft AGL, the check pilot called ‘engine failure’ and the oil pressure light illuminated. The pilot continued the autorotation to the ground. The helicopter landed smoothly, completing 360° of rotation, in the undershoot of runway 32, and no damage or injuries were sustained.
The check pilot then conducted a walk-around inspection, finding no damage or evidence of oil or other mechanical fault. As the helicopter was in the runway undershoot and two passenger aircraft were inbound to Port Hedland, the pilot attempted to restart the engine. No warnings were illuminated and all vehicle and engine multifunction display (VEMD) indications were normal.
The pilot relocated the helicopter to the company base helipad, recorded the engine flameout on the maintenance release and advised the senior base engineer of the incident.
The successful completion of the autorotation highlights the benefits of practice autorotations.