On 17 April 2014, the pilot of an Osborne Aviation OH-58A helicopter, registered VH-OSQ, conducted a pre-flight inspection for a planned private ferry flight from Coffs Harbour to Port Macquarie, New South Wales, with one passenger.

At about 0700, the pilot conducted the pre-start checks and started the engine. He carried out the after-start checks and confirmed all engine indications were normal, and ran the engine for about 10 minutes to recharge the new battery following start-up. He then shut the helicopter down, conducted the shut-down checks and the pilot and passenger exited the helicopter. The pilot added 0.5 L of oil. After a brief return to the terminal building, the pilot and passenger reboarded the helicopter.

The pilot selected the master switch on, confirmed all indications were normal and started the engine. The pilot lifted the helicopter off into the hover, climbed to about 35-50 ft above ground level and commenced the transition to forward flight. He then heard the turbine engine wind down, the red engine out warning light illuminated and the helicopter descended in an autorotation.

The pilot attempted to run the helicopter onto the ground, however, the helicopter touched down on soft grass and the landing skids detached. The main rotor blades chopped the tail boom and the helicopter landed heavily, resulting in substantial damage. The pilot observed that the fuel valve was selected to ‘OFF’.

The pilot reported that this incident provided a reminder of the effect a change in routine can have, particularly on completing checklists.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 32