Accident Eurocopter AS 350B3 Ecureuil ZS-OXK,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 246429
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Date:Saturday 2 January 2021
Time:05:00 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic AS50 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Eurocopter AS 350B3 Ecureuil
Registration: ZS-OXK
MSN: 4139
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Cape Town International Aiport -   South Africa
Phase: Take off
Nature:Aerial patrol
Departure airport:Cape Town International Airport (CPT/FACT)
Destination airport:Cape Peninsula National Park
Investigating agency: CAA S.A.
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On 2 January 2021 at approximately 0500Z, a pilot on-board an AS 350B3 helicopter with registration ZS-OXK was preparing to take-off from Cape Town International Airport (FACT) to the Cape Peninsula National Park in the Western Cape province on an anti-crime patrolling flight.
The pilot stated that while waiting for take-off clearance from air traffic control (ATC), he momentarily removed his hand from the collective pitch lever to adjust the volume on the radio.
This led to the collective pitch lever moving up to its maximum position, making the cyclic very stiff and difficult to control. The pilot did not hear any audible warning or see any warning lights illuminating on the cockpit panel. Thereafter, the helicopter lifted off to a height of approximately 30 feet above ground level (AGL) and began to yaw to the left with a slight right roll and forward pitch. The pilot attempted to stop the yaw rate by using the yaw pedals, but they were ineffective.
The helicopter continued to yaw; it made two full rotations while pitching forward with a slight right roll. The main rotor blades then struck the ground and the pilot lowered the collective pitch lever.
The right-side skid impacted the ground and a dynamic rollover to the right ensued with the helicopter coming to rest on its right side. A post-impact fire erupted in the engine compartment before the pilot shut down the engine and disembarked the helicopter unaided. The helicopter was destroyed by impact forces and a post-impact fire. The pilot sustained minor injuries during the accident sequence.

Probable Cause and/or Contributory Factors
It is probable that the pilot lost control following loss of hydraulic pressure as he omitted to release the “HYD TEST” push-button on the front centre console before cutting off the hydraulic assistance (using the ‘CUTOFF’ switch) on the collective stick.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAA S.A.
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 6 months
Download report: Final report



Revision history:

02-Jan-2021 14:24 Aerossurance Added
02-Jan-2021 14:26 Aerossurance Updated [Cn, Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
15-Jan-2021 17:40 Aerossurance Updated [Phase, Source, Narrative]
02-Apr-2021 18:38 harro Updated [Departure airport, Narrative, Category]
03-Apr-2021 16:56 Aerossurance Updated [Source]

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