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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  
Location   (show map):74 km NE of Sleisbeck Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Northern Territory Occurrence type: Collision with terrain 
Release date: 09 February 2017 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
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
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Last update 18 April 2017