Incident Bristol 171 Sycamore Mk 4 VH-INO,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 216932
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Date:Tuesday 15 January 1957
Type:Bristol 171 Sycamore Mk 4
Registration: VH-INO
MSN: 13403
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:near Mt Sorrel, 19mi from Queenstown, TAS -   Australia
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:
Destination airport:Queenstown, TAS
Investigating agency: BASI
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
A Bristol Sycamore helicopter, working under charter to a mining company in Western Tasmania, left Queenstown one morning to carry out a camp shift in a survey area 40 miles to the south. Lyell- E.Z.-Explorations, an organisation formed by the Mt. Lyell Mining and Railway Company Ltd., and the E.Z. Company was exploring for mineral deposits within an area of several thousand square miles in South Western Tasmania.

It had been refuelled to full tanks before departure and when the task was completed, late in the same morning, the aircraft set course back to Queenstown with the pilot and one passenger aboard. About halfway along the route and at a height of 2000 feet, the pilot decided to transfer fuel from the auxiliary to the main tank preparatory to landing. Soon after the transfer pump was switched on, the main engine power failed and the pilot had to carry out an autorotation landing in rugged mountainous country. He did this very successfully, but unfortunately, the front wheel sank into marshy ground soon after touchdown and the helicopter slowly tilted onto its port side, damaging the rotors and the rotor head.

The pilot and passenger escaped injury and were eventually reached by a ground party 29 hours later. After the helicopter had been lifted back onto its undercarriage, two litres of water were drained from the fuel tank.

A thorough fuel check had been carried out by an engineer prior to the flight, who saw no line of demarcation when he carried out a fuel drain and so believed that the fuel was uncontaminated with water. In fact, he probably drained a full container of water from the tank. The contamination was subsequently tracked down to a fuel drum which was found to contain a substantial quantity of water. 

Believed to be the first civil helicopter accident in Australia.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BASI
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report

"The Forgotten Giant of Australian Aviation" (pp.270-272)

History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft
11 January 1960 VH-INO Ansett-ANA 0 Nundle State Forest, NSW w/o

Revision history:

31-Oct-2018 10:52 Aerossurance Added
31-Oct-2018 10:59 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Source, Narrative]
31-Oct-2018 10:59 Aerossurance Updated [Source]
31-Oct-2018 11:00 Aerossurance Updated [Source]
31-Oct-2018 11:01 Aerossurance Updated [Source]
31-Oct-2018 11:02 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]

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