Aviation safety investigations & reports

Tail rotor malfunction involving a Robinson R22, VH-HPH, La Belle Downs Station, NT on 18 November 2014

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 18 November 2014, at about 1728 Central Standard Time (CST), a Robinson R22 helicopter, registered VH-HPH (HPH), departed from La Belle Downs Station, Northern Territory, for a local flight to check the progress of a bush fire, with the pilot and one passenger on board.

About two minutes into the flight, on climb and at about 300 ft above ground level, the pilot felt a vibration through the tail rotor pedals. The pilot decided to return to La Belle Downs station, turned the helicopter to the right and started a descent. The pilot was unable to stop the turn and the helicopter continued to descend and turn to the right. The helicopter started to spin in a tight circle and completed between five and six rotations before landing hard, bouncing once and then coming to a stop. The pilot performed the shutdown procedure and the pilot and passenger exited the helicopter. The pilot and passenger were uninjured. The helicopter was substantially damaged, including damage to the tail boom and both skids.

Regulators and aircraft manufacturers depend on accurate data to ensure the ongoing continued airworthiness of the aircraft. It is important that defects are reported to CASA through the Service Difficulty Reports (SDR) system, and to the manufacturer, so issues can be identified and rectified.

Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 42

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General details
Date: 18 November 2014   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1730 CST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): La Belle Downs Station    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Propeller/rotor malfunction  
Release date: 27 August 2015   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model R22 BETA  
Aircraft registration VH-HPH  
Serial number 3988  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Lavelle Station, NT  
Destination Lavelle Station, NT  
Last update 14 November 2018