Serious incident Eurocopter MBB-BK117 B-2 VH-VSA,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 310527
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Date:Friday 15 February 2013
Type:Silhouette image of generic BK17 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Eurocopter MBB-BK117 B-2
Registration: VH-VSA
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants:
Aircraft damage: Minor
Category:Serious incident
Location:Port Pirie Aerodrome, SSE M 28Km, SA -   Australia
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Port Pirie Aerodrome (YPIR)
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: ATSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
On 15 February 2013, the crew of a Eurocopter MBB-BK117 B-2 (BK117), registered VH-VSA, were conducting a trauma recovery flight from Port Pirie to Adelaide Hospital, South Australia. After reaching the cruise altitude of 5,000 ft above mean sea level, the crew observed fluctuations of the hydraulic system pressure gauges. Shortly after, the helicopter sustained an uncommanded and violent nose-up pitch and rolled left before descending. The pilot regained control at about 800 ft above ground level and flew the helicopter back to Port Pirie Aerodrome. No injuries were reported by the occupants and the helicopter sustained minor damage. The ATSB did not find any mechanical or system faults that could account for the hydraulic system pressure fluctuations. The ATSB found that the helicopter was being operated at a weight, density altitude and airspeed, and in meteorological conditions that were conducive to the onset of retreating blade stall. The uncommanded and violent nose-up pitch and left roll were consistent with the onset of that condition. The pilot’s instinctive action of pushing the cyclic control forward delayed recovery from the stall. The operator issued an urgent Immediate Safety Notification advising all company BK117 pilots of the conditions conducive to retreating blade stall and correct recovery actions. This incident highlights the importance of pilot awareness of the factors conducive to retreating blade stall and the importance of initially reducing collective pitch to optimise recovery. .


ATSB AO-2013-030

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