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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 177815
Last updated: 2 December 2021
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Time:21:19 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic GAZL model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Westland Gazelle HT3
Registration: G-BXTH
MSN: WA1120
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Abbeyshrule, County Longford -   Ireland
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Mullingar
Destination airport:Rustic Inn pub, Abbeyshrule, County Longford
Investigating agency: AAIU
The helicopter had recently been flown from the United Kingdom (UK) by the helicopter owner’s regular pilot and was parked in the grounds of a guesthouse located near Mullingar, Co. Westmeath in Ireland.
The pilot who flew the helicopter on the accident flight stated that he was asked by the helicopter owner, who was known to him, to fly the helicopter back to the UK and that the owner did not query him on his experience or type approval on the helicopter. He said that as a result of the owner’s request for assistance, it was apparent that he had permission to fly the helicopter. However, the owner stated that his expectation was that he would meet with the pilot, whom he had previously flown with in the pilot’s own helicopter, to discuss their mutual understanding of any agreement to operate the helicopter and that the pilot would confirm his qualifications and currency, prior to the commencement of any flight.

The helicopter took off from the grounds of the guesthouse located near Mullingar for the flight to Abbeyshrule, which was approximately 3.5 nautical miles to the northwest, with the pilot and one passenger on board. The pilot said it was planned to spend the night in the restaurant/guesthouse in Abbeyshrule, before flying the helicopter to the UK with its owner.
The helicopter owner was already present in the restaurant/guesthouse. The pilot stated that he had never been to Abbeyshrule before. However, the passenger was a pilot who was familiar with the local area.
The restaurant/guesthouse at the accident site was a two-storey building, approximately 24 metres (m) long. The ground floor wall was of solid construction, whilst the upper storey was timber-framed and timber-clad. A single storey section extended to the northeast. The northwest facing wall of the building ran parallel to the bank of the Royal Canal.
When the helicopter was abeam the restaurant/guesthouse, it turned 90 degrees to the left, to point towards the building. The helicopter was then manoeuvred towards the building, while descending and rotating further to the left. CCTV footage shows that at this point, the helicopter owner appeared on the canal bank and the helicopter climbed away. The helicopter owner moved some garden furniture from the canal bank and the pilot made a second approach. The final stage of the second approach was flown initially in a nose-in orientation, perpendicular to the canal bank and the northwest facing wall of the building.
The pilot then turned the nose to the left by approximately 30 degrees, before moving closer to the building.
As the helicopter was being manoeuvred to align it parallel to the canal bank and the wall of the building (on a north easterly heading), while at the same time descending and moving closer to the building wall, the main rotor blades made contact with the timber-clad section of the wall. This caused the tail of the helicopter to swing rapidly towards the wall and collide with it. The tail boom separated, broke apart and came to rest in the canal. The helicopter rolled to the right and impacted the canal bank, breaking the right hand cockpit canopy. The main rotor blades, although badly damaged, remained attached to the rotor hub. Debris was scattered over the canal and the canal bank adjacent to the building. The helicopter came to rest on its right hand side on the canal bank, on a heading of approximately 320 degrees magnetic.
The pilot and passenger evacuated the helicopter through the broken cockpit canopy.
Emergency services arrived shortly thereafter. Neither occupant reported injuries. There was no fire.

Probable Cause
Loss of clearance between the main rotor blades and an adjacent building during an attempted landing at a confined site.
Contributory Cause:
The selection of an inappropriate and unsuitable site for a helicopter landing.

Sources: (inc video from pub)



(c) AAIU

(c) AAIU

Revision history:

16-Jul-2015 06:48 Hans Gruber Added
16-Jul-2015 06:51 harro Updated [Narrative]
16-Jul-2015 10:48 Aerossurance Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Nature, Source, Narrative]
16-Jul-2015 10:52 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
16-Jul-2015 10:55 Anon. Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Nature, Source, Narrative]
16-Jul-2015 11:09 lookout Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
16-Jul-2015 11:12 rotorspot Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
16-Jul-2015 11:14 harro Updated [Aircraft type]
16-Jul-2015 15:05 Anon. Updated [Phase]
16-Jul-2015 17:03 Aerossurance Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Nature, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
16-Jul-2015 17:05 Aerossurance Updated [Aircraft type]
16-Jul-2015 17:07 lookout Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Nature, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
16-Jul-2015 20:23 lookout Updated [Source]
17-Jul-2015 06:59 Anon. Updated [Aircraft type, Cn]
17-Jul-2015 07:00 harro Updated [Operator, Narrative]
17-Jul-2015 11:07 Aerossurance Updated [Nature, Source, Narrative]
26-Jul-2015 09:51 harro Updated [Embed code]
10-Aug-2015 08:46 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Destination airport, Source]
27-Jul-2016 19:54 Anon. Updated [Damage]
22-Sep-2016 12:39 Aerossurance Updated [Operator]
12-Nov-2017 14:41 harro Updated [Time, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
12-Nov-2017 15:07 harro Updated [Source, Photo, ]
12-Nov-2017 15:17 harro Updated [Photo, ]

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