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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 138005
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Time:19:02 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic AS55 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Aérospatiale AS 355F2 Ecureuil II
Registration: VH-NTV
MSN: 5380
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:145 km N of Marree (near Lake Eyre) SA -   Australia
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Cooper Creek inlet
Destination airport:Muloorina Station
Investigating agency: ATSB
On 18 August 2011, VH-NTV, on charter to Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), was being operated under the visual flight rules (VFR) in an area east of Lake Eyre, South Australia. At about 1900 Central Standard Time, the pilot departed an island in the Cooper Creek inlet with two film crew on board for a 30-minute flight to a station for a planned overnight stay. It was after last light and, although there was no low cloud or rain, it was a dark night.

The helicopter levelled at 1,500 ft above mean sea level, and shortly after entered a gentle right turn and then began descending. The turn tightened and the descent rate increased until, 38 seconds after the descent began, the helicopter impacted terrain at high speed with a bank angle of about 90°. The pilot and the two passengers were fatally injured, and the helicopter was destroyed

The ATSB found that the pilot probably selected an incorrect destination on one or both of the helicopter's global positioning system (GPS) units prior to departure. The ATSB concluded that, after initiating the right turn at 1,500 ft, the pilot probably became spatially disoriented. Factors contributing to the disorientation included dark night conditions, high pilot workload associated with establishing the helicopter in cruise flight and probably attempting to correct the fly-to point in a GPS unit, the pilot’s limited recent night flying and instrument flying experience, and the helicopter not being equipped with an autopilot.

Although some of the operator’s risk controls for the conduct of night VFR were in excess of the regulatory requirements, the operator did not effectively manage the risk associated with operations in dark night conditions. The ATSB also identified safety issues with the existing regulatory requirements in that flights for some types of operations were permitted under the VFR in dark night conditions that are effectively the same as instrument meteorological conditions, but without the same level of safety assurance that is provided by the requirements for flight under the instrument flight rules (IFR).


Revision history:

18-Aug-2011 17:24 angels one five Added
18-Aug-2011 21:18 RobertMB Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Location, Phase, Source]
19-Aug-2011 04:06 Tayug Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Source]
19-Aug-2011 05:05 RobertMB Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Location, Source]
19-Aug-2011 05:31 angels one five Updated [Source]
21-Aug-2011 05:46 flyernzl Updated [Source]
30-Jun-2015 09:54 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
23-May-2016 19:45 Aerossurance Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Narrative]

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