Accident Agusta A109A Hirundo G-USTA,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 153197
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Date:Saturday 27 March 1999
Type:Silhouette image of generic A109 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Agusta A109A Hirundo
Owner/operator:Markoss Aviation Ltd
Registration: G-USTA
MSN: 7170
Year of manufacture:1980
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex
Destination airport:Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex
Investigating agency: AAIB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On 27-3-1999, following a short local flight, as the helicopter descended through about 30 feet agl, at low speed on final approach, there was a loud bang and it began to spin rapidly to the right. The pilot lowered the collective and completed the landing but the helicopter touched down hard at Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex (at approximate co ordinates 50°56′00″N 0°11′07″W) sustaining substantial damage.

An initial inspection discovered that the helicopter's tail rotor assembly, complete with the 90 degree gearbox, but with the outer part of one tail rotor blade missing, had separated in flight and was lying about 12 metres from the helicopter. The missing part of the tail rotor blade was found further back along the approach path.

The gearbox and tail boom had torn free due to out-of-balance forces following the blade separation. An examination of the tail rotor blade found a chord wise fatigue fracture in the outboard-facing (tension) skin of the blade at about 25 percent span, immediately adjoining the outer end of a bonded reinforcing doubler. The origin of the fatigue was identified as a small 'thumbnail' area, which extended to a depth of about 70% of the skin's thickness (about 0.6mm) and was about 1.5mm long at the surface of the skin

Damage sustained to airframe: Per the AAIB report "Tail rotor gearbox torn out, extensive damage rear of tail boom and lower fuselage". The damage was presumably enough to render the airframe as "beyond economic repair", as the registration G-USTA was cancelled by the CAA on 5-8-1999 as "Permanently withdrawn from use"

According to one source (see link #7) the remains of G-USTA were "now in use as a simulator by Veritair at Cardiff Heliport, seen October 2009" but "Gone by 07/10".

This helicopter was C/n 7170 ex G-BRYL, G-OAMH, G-ROPE, G-OAMH. Re-registered as G-USTA on 3-12-96.


1. AAIB;
2. CAA:

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

Revision history:

10-Feb-2013 08:06 TB Added
20-May-2013 16:31 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
02-Jun-2013 18:19 TB Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
25-Jun-2016 20:51 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
01-Jul-2016 14:20 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
04-Aug-2022 17:38 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative, Category]
04-Aug-2022 17:39 Dr. John Smith Updated [Category]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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