On 20 July 2015, the pilot of a Bell 206L3 (Longranger) helicopter, registered VH-BLV (BLV), conducted a charter flight from Essendon Airport to Falls Creek, Victoria, with five passengers on board.

At about 1030, tracking from the north-west, the pilot conducted a shallow approach towards the helipad at Falls Creek. As the helicopter descended to about 50 ft above ground level, the pilot found that significantly more power was required to conduct the approach than anticipated. Therefore, pilot elected to abort the approach and conducted a left turn towards the valley.

As the helicopter turned left, it started to yaw rapidly towards the right. The pilot applied full left pedal to counteract the yaw, but the helicopter continued to yaw. The helicopter turned through one and a half revolutions, as the pilot lowered the collective.  Lowering the collective increased the ability of the anti-torque pedals to stop the yaw. The pilot was then able to regain control of the helicopter.

The pilot subsequently conducted a left turn towards the helipad and made an approach to the helipad from an easterly direction. The helicopter landed following the second approach without further incident.

Pilots can reduce their exposure to unanticipated yaw, by maintaining awareness of the wind and its effect on the helicopter. If a pilot encounters unanticipated yaw, quick application of the correct response is essential to recover control of the helicopter.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin Issue 44

Read report