Aviation occurrence briefs

Wirestrike and collision with terrain involving Robinson R22, near Charleville, Qld, on 14 May 2019

Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.

What happened

On the morning of 14 May 2019, a Robinson R22 helicopter was on descent into a property near Charleville, Queensland to meet the property owner prior to conducting mustering operations. The property owner requested that the pilot land the helicopter in a particular area to the south of the owner’s house.

During descent, the pilot initially conducted an orbit of the property and identified multiple powerlines near the house and shed area. The pilot confirmed with the property owner that there were no powerlines in the vicinity of the landing spot. As the helicopter was coming in to land, the tail contacted a powerline running north to south. The pilot reported that he did not see the powerline as it was unexpected and obscured by a large tree.

The helicopter subsequently collided with terrain and was substantially damaged. The pilot sustained minor injuries.

Figure 1: Damage to helicopter

Figure 1: Damage to helicopter, Robinson R22, near Charleville, Qld. Source: Queensland Police

Source: Queensland Police

Safety message

Wires can be difficult to sight and are often in the most unexpected places in rural areas. The ATSB research article, Avoidable Accidents No. 1 – Low level flying provides information on wire hazards associated with flight below 500 ft.

In this instance, the pilot requested pre-arrival information specifically regarding powerlines on the property and was provided with incorrect information.

Both pilots and property owners are reminded that they can always contact power companies to have wires marked if they could present a hazard to low-level operations.

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.

General details
Date: 14 May 2019   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0630 EST    
Location   (show map): Near Charleville    
State: Queensland    
Release Date: 17 June 2019   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model R22 Beta  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Destination near Charleville, Queensland  
Last update 31 July 2019