Investigation number
Occurrence date
Budgerygar Station
Report release date
Report status
Investigation level
Investigation type
Occurrence Investigation
Investigation status
Aviation occurrence type
Collision with terrain
Occurrence category
Highest injury level

Section 21 (2) of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 (TSI Act) empowers the ATSB to discontinue an investigation into a transport safety matter at any time. Section 21 (3) of the TSI Act requires the ATSB to publish a statement setting out the reasons for discontinuing an investigation. The statement is published as a report in accordance with section 25 of the TSI Act, capturing information from the investigation up to the time of discontinuance.

Overview of the investigation

On 27 September 2022, the ATSB commenced an investigation following notification of a collision with terrain involving a Robinson R22 Beta helicopter, registered VH-CWE.

About 1300 local time, on 26 September 2022, the helicopter departed a rural property, with the pilot and one passenger on board, reportedly to perform a weed inspection of that property. While flying at low altitude, the pilot lost control of the aircraft and collided with terrain. The aircraft was substantially damaged, with the pilot sustaining serious injuries, and the passenger receiving minor injuries.

The ATSB evaluated photographic evidence of the wreckage and interviewed the pilot and witnesses. There were no reported problems with the helicopter prior to the collision with terrain. The first items in the wreckage trail were the landing gear, which had separated from the helicopter and had contact marks consistent with impact to the left struts. The main wreckage was located about 400 m away on its side adjacent to the road with no obvious pre‑accident defects (Figure 1 and Figure 2).

Based on the available evidence it is likely that the accident was due to a handling error while operating at low level. 

A review of Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) licencing information identified that the pilot held both Commercial and Private Pilot Licences (Helicopter) and a low-level mustering endorsement. However, they did not hold a current medical certificate and CASA had no evidence that the pilot had conducted a flight review within the required period to enable operation of the R22 helicopter. As such, they were not entitled to exercise the privileges of their licence at the time of the accident.

Figure 1: Landing gear assembly components and final helicopter location

Figure 1: Landing gear assembly components and final helicopter location

Source: Queensland Police, annotated by the ATSB

Figure 2: Helicopter wreckage

Figure 2: Helicopter wreckage

Source: Queensland Police

Reasons for the discontinuation

Based on a review of the available evidence, the ATSB considered it was unlikely that further investigation would identify any systemic safety issues or important safety lessons. Consequently, the ATSB has discontinued this investigation.

The evidence collected during this investigation remains available to be used in future investigations or safety studies. The ATSB will also monitor for any similar occurrences that may indicate a need to undertake a further safety investigation.

Aircraft Details
Serial number
Robinson Helicopter Co