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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 174649
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Time:18:52 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic AS55 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Eurocopter AS 355N Ecureuil II
Owner/operator:Flightpaths Ltd
Registration: G-OROM
MSN: 5619
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Souldern Grounds Farm, 1 nm west of Souldern, Oxfordshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Kidlington Aerodrome, Oxfordshire (OXF/EGTK)
Destination airport:Souldern Manor, 1 nm west of Souldern, Oxfordshire
Investigating agency: AAIB
Written off (destroyed) 28 January 1998 when crashed at Souldern Grounds Farm, one nautical mile west of Souldern, near Bicester, Oxfordshire. The pilot (sole person on board) was killed. According to the following extract from the official AAIB report into the accident:

"As the helicopter continued towards the M40 motorway it lost height. Distracted in conversation with his driver, the witness looked again to see the helicopter travelling at right angles to the motorway at an estimated height of 300 feet. The landing light was now pointing towards the ground at an angle of 45 degrees but the helicopter appeared to be in a descent of about 30 degrees.

The helicopter then appeared to accelerate rapidly with wisps of mist visible in the landing light beam before it disappeared from view behind a hill. When he had been driven clear of the hill the witness could see several fires on the ground.

The accident site was in a field of young crop which formed part of Souldern Grounds Farm. The field was located approximately 900 metres to the south west of the helicopter landing pad at Souldern Manor and 250 metres feet to the south west of the M40 motorway. The accident site was about 30 feet below the height of the helicopter landing pad. The general area to the south and west of the accident site consisted of agricultural land with isolated farm houses and buildings.

To the south and east there was an unlit high ridge. An unlit railway viaduct crossed land which descended to the west of the site. The initial impact with the ground was made by the main rotor blades and the forward sections of both skids. The lower forward fuselage contacted the ground immediately following the initial impact. The depth and severity of the main rotor blade ground strike marks, together with the associated earth throw, was consistent with the rotor blades rotating at about their normal operating speed and with high energy.

Evidence from the initial impact marks indicated that the helicopter was flying on a straight track with the right-hand skid slightly lower than the left, with its nose pitched down by about 23, on a heading of 236 magnetic and descending with a forward speed in the region of 100 kt. Due to the high vertical and forward speed of the helicopter at the initial impact, the fuselage structure was severely disrupted.

The disrupted fuselage of the helicopter bounced following the initial impact and, upon it's second impact, fuel from the ruptured fuel tank ignited. The resulting fireball travelled with the main body of the wreckage which came to rest within the substantial hedge that formed the southern boundary of the accident field. The fire continued to burn until extinguished by the emergency services.

Areas of fuel stained grass were evident three days after the accident indicating that there had been a large quantity of fuel aboard the helicopter at the time of the accident".

Damage sustained to airframe: Per the AAIB report "Helicopter destroyed". As a result the registration G-OROM was cancelled by the CAA on 13-5-1998 as "destroyed"


1. AAIB:
2. CAA:

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

Revision history:

18-Mar-2015 14:33 Dr. John Smith Added
23-May-2016 18:57 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Source, Narrative]
23-May-2016 19:14 Aerossurance Updated [Aircraft type, Source]
22-Jun-2016 20:22 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
22-Jun-2016 20:23 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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