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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 151244
Last updated: 26 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic AS65 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Aérospatiale SA 365C1 Dauphin 2
Owner/operator:New South Wales Surf Life Saving Association
Registration: VH-LSR
MSN: 5060
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:2 km E of Blackheath, NSW -   Australia
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Blackheath, NSW
Destination airport:Wenthworth, NSW
Investigating agency: ATSB
The helicopter had landed near Wentworth Falls during a search for a missing bush walker. A local ranger who was familiar with the search area joined the flight as an observer, increasing the number of occupants to six. Because of density altitude considerations, the pilot had the front doors and other non-essential equipment, removed from the helicopter to reduce all up weight. This was done to improve the 'Out of Ground Effect' (OGE) hover performance of the helicopter.

The helicopter departed Wentworth Falls and rejoined the search for about 50 minutes, before landing on a helipad near Blackheath to refuel. On landing, the pilot noted that the wind was fluctuating from the west, at 10 to 15 knots. Six hundred litres of fuel were added to the helicopter.

Prior to departure, the pilot calculated the density altitude to be 5,000 ft. Wooded rising terrain along the intended departure path required the helicopter to climb vertically to 80 ft, before transitioning to forward flight. Under the prevailing conditions the pilot anticipated that full power would be required for the take-off.

After lift off, the helicopter was hovered in ground effect for a performance check. Satisfied that there was an adequate margin of power, the pilot climbed to 80 ft before selecting a nose down attitude to initiate forward flight. At this point the main rotor low RPM warning sounded, which was confirmed by a low indication of main rotor RPM.

The pilot immediately lowered the collective and commenced a descent, in preparation for a downwind landing onto the helipad. A turn to the left was commenced, during which it became apparent that the helicopter lacked the performance to safely reach the helipad, so he decided to make a downwind landing to an adjacent road.

The helicopter made a running touchdown on the road but, during the ground roll, the main rotor blades collided with the corner of a steel framed building. The helicopter then veered to the left and collided with a boundary fence. An examination of the engines and associated components failed to detect any pre-existing defects. The take-off weight was calculated to have been 3342 kg, some 200 kg heavier than the maximum predicted OGE hover weight for the existing conditions.

The reported performance of the helicopter would suggest that assistance from the headwind experienced during lift off and initial climb was critical. The reduction in main rotor RPM at a crucial stage of flight probably resulted from over pitching of the main rotor due to a short term loss of headwind, associated with fluctuating wind conditions.


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: ATSB
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

15-Dec-2012 13:13 TB Added
15-Dec-2012 14:17 TB Updated [Location, Source]
13-Jun-2013 17:34 TB Updated [Time, Total occupants, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
13-Jun-2013 17:38 TB Updated [Source]
13-Jun-2013 17:39 TB Updated [Source]
28-Nov-2016 22:10 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Total occupants, Source, Narrative]
12-Oct-2021 16:00 harro Updated [Source, Accident report]

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