Aviation safety investigations & reports

Ground strike involving Robinson R44, VH-HHZ 74 km NE of Sleisbeck, NT, on 18 November 2016

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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On 18 November 2016, a Robinson R44 helicopter, registered VH-HHZ, was operating to support fire-fighting personnel near Sleisbeck, Northern Territory.

At about 1600 Central Standard Time, the pilot conducted an approach to a landing site they had already landed at twice that day. The landing site was a flat rocky surface, but one side had a slight downwards slope. The pilot confirmed the wind direction from smoke nearby and approached the landing site into wind. As the pilot lowered the collective and the helicopter’s skids touched down, the helicopter started to slide to the right. The pilot attempted to correct the sideways movement, but the main rotor blade struck a rock, and the helicopter started vibrating. The pilot rolled off the throttle and applied right pedal, but the helicopter rotated to the left and the horizontal stabiliser struck a rock. The helicopter sustained substantial damage. The pilot and two passengers were not injured.

The company issued a notice to flight crew emphasising the importance of conducting a thorough aerial assessment before committing to landing at any remote location including confined areas.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 57

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General details
Date: 18 November 2016   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 16:00 CST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 74 km NE of Sleisbeck    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 09 February 2017   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model R44  
Aircraft registration VH-HHZ  
Serial number 2087  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Sleisbeck, NT  
Destination Sleisbeck, NT  
Last update 14 November 2018