The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has commenced a transport safety investigation into the tail rotor malfunction of a Robinson R22 Beta, registration VH-HCX, near Geraldton in Western Australia.
On 20 February 2021, the helicopter was being operated by a sole pilot for an early morning repositioning flight from a station property near Geraldton to Kalbarri, Western Australia. Shortly after departure, the helicopter’s engine commenced a period of ‘rough running’, and with that onset the pilot elected to conduct a precautionary run-on landing in a yard adjacent the departure helipad. The intermittent period of engine operation reportedly eased, after which, the pilot proceeded to lift the helicopter into a low hover. During this the pilot encountered a loss of antitorque from the tail rotor system leading to an uncommanded rotation of the helicopter. The pilot immediately resettled the helicopter and on landing shutdown the engine. The pilot’s post-flight inspection of the helicopter identified that the tail rotor drive shaft had fractured.
As part of the investigation, the ATSB will review review and analyse any available recorded data, interview involved parties and gather any other relevant information.
A report will be published at the conclusion of the investigation. However, should any critical safety issues be identified at any stage during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate safety action can be taken.
|Date:||20 February 2021||Investigation status:||Active|
|Time:||0630 WDT||Investigation level:||Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|Location:||near Geraldton||Investigation phase:||Evidence collection|
|Occurrence category:||Serious Incident|
|Report status:||Pending||Highest injury level:||None|
|Anticipated completion:||3rd Quarter 2021|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Robinson Helicopter Co|
|Aircraft model||R22 Beta|
|Type of operation||Aerial Work|
|Damage to aircraft||Minor|
|Departure point||Geraldton Aerodrome, Western Australia|
|Destination||Kalgoorlie, Western Australia|