Aviation safety investigations & reports

Groundstrike and loss of control involving Robinson R22 helicopter, VH-HAY, near Fitzroy Crossing, WA on 18 May 2014

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 18 May 2014 a Robinson Company R22 Beta aircraft was conducting cattle mustering on GoGo Station near Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia.

Late in the afternoon, as the pilot was manoeuvring the helicopter at low level, the tail rotor struck the ground.

The helicopter commenced a severe right yaw. The pilot kept the helicopter in a clear area, while it rapidly completed about four full rotations to the right.

To arrest the yaw, the pilot immediately closed the throttle which resulted in a rapid rate of descent. In an attempt to lessen the rate of descent, the pilot raised the collective. The helicopter struck the ground heavily, and then rolled onto the right side.

The pilot sustained serious injuries and the helicopter was substantially damaged.

The risks in low level mustering are well known. Low level operations leave little margin for error. The added risk factors of operating in a dusty environment, and in the hour before last light would have reduced that margin.

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 35

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General details
Date: 18 May 2014   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 16:45 WST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Fitzroy Crossing Aerodrome    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Ground strike  
Release date: 15 October 2014   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-HAY  
Serial number 4412  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Unknown  
Last update 14 November 2018