Aviation safety investigations & reports

Rotor malfunction involving a Robinson R44, VH-YYS, Mareeba Airport, Qld on 2 March 2014

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 2 March 2014, at about 1300 Eastern Standard Time (EST), the pilot of a Robinson R44 helicopter, registered VH-YYS, prepared for a private flight from Mareeba, Queensland.

The helicopter lifted off and the pilot reported all engine indications were normal and the blades appeared to be tracking normally. During the translation from hover to forward flight, the helicopter yawed to the left. The pilot raised collective and rolled the throttle on and the helicopter then spun quickly about 90 degrees to the right. The pilot heard an increase in engine noise as a loud buzz. The helicopter then pitched up and down, and as he attempted to control it with the cyclic, the helicopter very quickly yawed about 180 degrees to the left. The helicopter rolled to the left and the pilot noticed the main rotor blades flapping.

The pilot eased the collective into the ground and as the helicopter touched down, it started to roll to the left. He moved the cyclic right, reduced the throttle and the helicopter rocked from side to side and then settled. During the event, the rotor blades contacted the tail boom resulting in substantial damage.

The investigation did not establish any mechanical, maintenance or training issues relevant to the investigation.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 30

Download final report
[Download  PDF: 115KB]
General details
Date: 02 March 2014   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 13:00 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Mareeba Airport    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Propeller/rotor malfunction  
Release date: 26 May 2014   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model R44  
Aircraft registration VH-YYS  
Serial number 1801  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Mareeba, Qld  
Last update 14 November 2018