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On 20 July 2016, the pilot of a Schweizer 269C helicopter, registered VH-NTZ, conducted aerial spraying operations near Deloraine, Tasmania.

The pilot completed spraying one area, and prior to commencing spraying another, overflew it to assess the site. During that inspection, the pilot sighted two sets of powerlines, one running approximately north-south, and the other branching off to the east. Based on the location of the powerlines and the wind, which was a light northerly, the pilot elected to spray the paddock in an east-west direction. The helicopter was operating north of the powerline running east-west, and in each run, was overflying and remaining clear of the powerlines at the western end of the paddock.

At about 1230 Eastern Standard Time, after completing two spray loads, the pilot tracked south over the powerline and turned to conduct a tidy-up run to the north along the road and powerlines running north-south.

After overflying a dairy building, the helicopter descended as the pilot intended to commence spraying. However, the helicopter struck the powerlines running east-west and subsequently collided with terrain.

The pilot, who was the sole occupant of the helicopter, sustained serious injuries and the helicopter was destroyed.

The ATSB publication Avoidable Accidents No. 2 – Wirestrikes involving known wires: A manageable aerial agricultural hazard, explains strategies to help minimise the risk of striking wires while flying.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin- Issue 52

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General details
Date: 20 July 2016 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 12:30 EST  
Location   (show map):Devonport Airport, SE 45 km (Deloraine) Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Tasmania Occurrence type: Wirestrike 
Release date: 28 September 2016 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Serious 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Schweizer Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: 269C 
Aircraft registration: VH-NTZ 
Serial number: S1405 
Type of operation: Aerial Work 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Destroyed 
Departure point:Unknown
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Last update 18 April 2017