Incident Enstrom 280C-UK G-CTSI,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 280612
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Date:Thursday 14 January 1988
Type:Silhouette image of generic EN28 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Enstrom 280C-UK
Owner/operator:Sullivan Management Control Ltd
Registration: G-CTSI
MSN: 1202
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Shoreham Airport, Lancing, West Sussex -   United Kingdom
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Shoreham Airport, Lancing, West Sussex
Destination airport:
Enstrom 280 G-CTSI had been at Shoreham Airport, Lancing, West Sussex for an annual maintenance check by the main UK distributor. On completion of this, and before the delivering the helicopter back to the customer, on the morning of 14 January 1988 the company asked the pilot to make a test flight. After making a series of fast turns at a height of about thirty feet, first to port and then to starboard, the pilot applied the port pedal and as this started to arrest the turn to starboard, a loud buzz was heard, from behind the cabin, and application of the port pedal produced no subsequent response.

The helicopter continued to rotate to starboard and so the pilot closed the throttle, lowered collective pitch and descended to land with forward momentum. Immediately before touch down he raised collective pitch to cushion the impact on landing. This caused the helicopter to yaw to starboard and land heavily on its port skid, which then gave way. Fortunately the helicopter did not roll to port and thus neither its main nor tail rotor blades made contact with the ground. Both the pilot and his engineer passenger were then able to close the helicopter down and exit it without difficulty, the pilot suffering slight injury and the passenger none.

The immediately obvious damage to the helicopter was a collapsed port skid, a bent cross tube and a distorted tail boom. However on detailed inspection of the airframe, it was discovered that, due to metal fatigue, the tail rotor input gear wheel had been stripped of its teeth and that the debris from this had caused major damage to the output gear wheel of the gearbox. The reason for this, it appears, was an undetected prior insufficiency of gearbox lubricant during a number of flights.

At some time before 14 January 1988, on a pre-flight check the owner of the helicopter had noticed that the tail rotor gearbox lubricant indicator sight glass was broken and, on his assertion that this must have occurred only since its previous flight, it seems that this was replaced, without examining the tail rotor gearbox, and the lubricant was replenished. Presumably had an examination taken place, it would have been discovered that fatigue damage to the gears already had been sustained. As a result, Enstrom was to issue a Service Direction Bulletin to owners of this model of helicopter requiring periodic inspection of its tail rotor gear wheels.

The helicopter was repaired and returned to service, and is still flying in 2022, as G-WRFM. This particular helicopter has several identities in its lifetime:
SE-HLB (Swedish Registry) 11 October 1980 to 27 September 1982
G-BKIO from 4 October 1982 to 15 November 1982
G-CTSI from 15 November 1982 to 21 April 1989
G-WRFM from 21 April 1989 to date (last re-registered as such 19 September 2005)

Reportedly between 27 September and 4 October 1982, this helicopter was sold from Sweden to Denmark. If that was the case, then the sale must have presumably fallen through, as it never aspired to the Danish register. (See link #5)


1. AAIB Final Report:
2. CAA:
3. CAA:

Revision history:

22-Jul-2022 00:57 Dr. John Smith Added

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