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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