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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 166015
Last updated: 17 October 2021
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Time:15:16 WST
Type:Silhouette image of generic H500 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Hughes 369HS
Owner/operator:Airfast Services Pty
Registration: VH-UHO
MSN: 119-0212S
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:26 miles north-north-west of Coolgardie,WA -   Australia
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:26 miles NNW of Coolgardie, WA
Destination airport:27 miles NNW of Coolgardie, WA
Investigating agency: BASI
The sediment sampling on which the helicopter was engaged involved a series of flights, each of the order of two to four minutes duration. Between individual flights the aircraft remained on the ground with the engine running for the short period required for the rear seat passengers to disembark, collect sediment samples and re-embark for the flight to the next selected location.

The passenger in the left hand rear seat would then signal, by tapping the pilot on the shoulder, that both rear seat occupants were strapped in and take off could commence. Conditions in the area were hot and dry and at each take off and landing the rotor wash raised large quantities of dust.

On this occasion the passengers re-boarded the aircraft and a normal take-off and climb out was made to a height of some 100-150 feet. The aircraft was accelerating through about 60 knots, above trees and towards a clear area which was to be the next landing point, when a loss of engine power occurred.

The pilot lowered the collective pitch control and commenced a descent in an endeavour to reach the clear area ahead. He transmitted a distress radio call and, at a height of about 40 feet, the engine stopped completely. At a lower height the pilot attempted to check the forward speed and to arrest the descent, but his efforts had little effect and the aircraft struck the ground, tail rotor first, about 120 feet short of the clear area.

The landing skids then touched down heavily, breaking off, and the aircraft subsequently came to rest in an almost upright attitude, some 70 feet beyond the point of initial impact. Three of the occupants left the aircraft unassisted and found the left hand rear seat passenger lying some 12 feet beyond the main wreckage. He later died in hospital from his injuries. The four persons on board were later named as:

Ian Francis MALONEY (pilot, aged 31)
Dirk J. ZEELENBERG (passenger, uninjured)
Richard Ian ROBERTSON (passenger, seriously injured)
Robert Graeme JAMIESON (passenger, fatally injured)

ATSB Conclusions:
1. Subsequent examination of the engine revealed that it had been considerably affected by dust ingestion and the first stage turbine rotor blades were damaged by overheating. Inspection of the left rear seat safety buckle suggested that it was possible to gain a false impression that the buckle was properly fastened when in fact the locking action had not been fully accomplished
2. The probable cause of the accident was that a progressive deterioration of the internal condition of the engine, arising from the environment in which the helicopter had been operated, was not detected before complete engine failure occurred



Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BASI
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

05-May-2014 19:05 Dr. John Smith Added

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