Aviation safety investigations & reports

Animal strike and collision with terrain involving Robinson R22, VH-PFX, 15 km S of Coen, Qld, on 18 September 2016

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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On 18 September 2016, at about 1355 Eastern Standard Time EST, the pilot of a Robinson R22 helicopter, registered VH-PFX, commenced aerial mustering on a property about 15 km south of Coen, Queensland.

After successfully mustering one mob of cattle into a yard, the pilot started moving a second mob towards the north. The cattle started to move west instead of north, so the pilot descended closer to the cattle to encourage them to turn.

At about 1415, the helicopter was about 10 ft above the ground, at an airspeed of 40 to 50 kt, when a cow with long horns charged and reared up at the helicopter. The cow’s horn went over the right skid of the helicopter, trapping the skid underneath it. The pilot applied full left cyclic and raised the collective, but the helicopter rolled to the right. The main rotor blade struck the ground and the helicopter collided with the ground and slid about 10 m along a dirt road.

As the helicopter slid along the ground, it caught fire. The pilot exited with minor injuries and the helicopter was destroyed.

Aerial mustering, as with other low-flying operations, carries an inherent level of risk. At low level there is limited opportunity to react and respond to an abnormal situation.


Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 55

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General details
Date: 18 September 2016   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 14:36 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Coen Aerodrome, S 15 Km (Peninsula Development Road)    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Animal strike  
Release date: 14 December 2016   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model R22 BETA  
Aircraft registration VH-PFX  
Serial number 3464  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Last update 14 November 2018