Recovery and Presentation of Recorded Data for the Transport Accident Investigation Commission New Zealand


Hughes 369HS, ZK-HCC Accident near Fox Glacier, New Zealand, 30 November 2003


On 30 November 2003, a New Zealand registered Hughes 369HS, ZK-HCC, was operating on a standard scenic flight over the Fox Glacier, New Zealand. The intended track was over Fox Glacier, around Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, returning via the Fox Glacier to land at Fox Glacier township.

After a normal climb to 9,500 ft and commencing level forward flight, the pilot noticed the power turbine speed and main rotor speed reduce. The pilot descended to 6,500 ft where power was restored. Several minutes later a second power loss occurred. The pilot then carried out an emergency landing at the base of Fox Glacier. During the emergency landing the helicopter sustained damage to a landing gear skid and rolled onto its side. The pilot and passengers vacated the helicopter with no serious injuries.

A passenger had been photographing the scenic flight using a video camera. Sounds relating to the operation of the main rotor gearbox had been recorded on the video. The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) of New Zealand was responsible for investigating this accident and requested assistance from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) to analyse the sounds recorded on the video camera. It was requested that the data be presented in tabular and graphical format. The Executive Director of the ATSB approved the request and the examination was conducted in accordance with the Australian Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003.

A copy of the video recorded during the accident flight was forwarded to the ATSB by the TAIC aviation investigator in charge. The video was received at the Bureau on 24 February 2004 and examined by an ATSB recorder specialist. The audio signals were downloaded and analysed using the Bureau's audio software and graphical and tabular presentations of the data were prepared.

Information relating to the operation of the helicopter's main rotor system was provided to the TAIC investigator in charge for consideration in preparing their report.

A copy of the TAIC investigation report (03-007) may be found at: or by contacting the Transport Accident Investigation Commission, PO Box 10-323, Wellington, New Zealand.

Type: Statistical Publication
Publication date: 30 November 2003
Last update 07 April 2014