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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 62747
Last updated: 24 November 2021
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Time:c. 0750
Type:Silhouette image of generic UH12 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Hiller UH-12E
Owner/operator:Whirl-Wide Aviation Ltd
Registration: ZK-HCE
MSN: 2198
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Waiapu River, near Ruatoria -   New Zealand
Phase: En route
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Pilot: Frank Robert Mettner (41).

The helicopter was on its sixth spraying sortie of the day and flying along the Waiapu River to the spraying area when the main planet gear of the transmission disintegrated resulting in the separation of the main rotor assembly.
The aircraft went into free fall from an estimated height of about 100 feet and crashed heavily in the riverbed.
This was not a survivable impact.
The helicopter broke up and burst into flames.

Frank Mettner was an American who came to New Zealand in 1963.
He was a former helicopter pilot in the U.S.Army, graduating from Fort Sill, Oklahoma in April 1953 and assigned to the Army Medical Service Corps as a 2nd Lieutenant.

The accident investigator noted in his report " During his varied activities in this country he had always been prepared to sacrifice valuable time voluntarily to undertake important rescue work and he played a major part in some notable search and rescue operations. He was regarded as a particularly competent helicopter pilot and had accumulated some 9,000 hours' recorded flight time."

Aircraft Accident Report No. 1811.


Revision history:

22-May-2009 12:58 XLerate Added
26-Jan-2011 02:19 Frank Mettner Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Damage]
28-Jun-2011 00:35 angels one five Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Narrative]
28-Jun-2011 01:15 angels one five Updated [Narrative]
24-Jan-2014 19:59 angels one five Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Narrative]
02-Feb-2018 20:43 Anon. Updated [Date, Narrative]
07-Jul-2020 20:29 Ron Averes Updated [Operator, Location]

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