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.