Accident Agusta A109E Power Elite G-HIMJ,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 77796
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Date:Sunday 14 March 2004
Type:Silhouette image of generic A109 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Agusta A109E Power Elite
Owner/operator:Whirligig Ltd
Registration: G-HIMJ
MSN: 11163
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Colney Park Heliport, Leeds Bradford, West Yorkshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA/EGNM)
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: AAIB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Following a normal take-off from Leeds/Bradford Airport, Leeds, as the helicopter climbed through about 300 feet agl, there was a 'whining noise' followed by a 'bang.' All indications apparently remained normal and the pilot retained control; however, he elected to carry out a precautionary landing in a nearby field. Just before touchdown, as the helicopter entered the landing flare, it began to spin and touched down while it was still spinning. The accident happened in daylight (16:00 hours Local time).

The subsequent investigation found that the lower attachment of the rear left brace assembly securing the main rotor gearbox had failed.This failure allowed greater than normal displacement of the upper end of the gearbox when under load resulting in a misalignment of both the tail rotor drive shaft and the engine output shafts bringing the tail-rotor drive shaft into contact with the sides of the titanium tunnel through which it passed. Frictional heating then led to the failure of the drive-shaft.

The failure of the attachment resulted from the fatigue failure of one of the pairs of bolts securing it with the other pair then failing, shortly afterwards, from overload. The failure of the first pair of bolts was believed to be due to them having been under torqued during assembly at the manufacture.

Following the accident Agusta reviewed its assembly process and issued revised guidance to its production team. In addition, production documents were revised to include identification of the correct torque wrench to be used, the calibration expiration date and the torque values applied

Nature of Damage to airframe: Per the AAIB report "All three landing gear units badly damaged. Wrinkling of the aircraft structure. Tail rotor drive shaft failure. Damage to the tail rotor drive shaft tunnel and engine drive shaft.
Failure of four bolts securing lower attachment lug bracket of main rotor gearbox aft left brace assembly".


1. Helicopter International Magazine, March 2004, page 187
2. AAIB:
3. CAA:

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

Revision history:

17-Sep-2010 08:46 pesce Added
22-Dec-2012 15:56 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
04-Feb-2013 10:45 TB Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Departure airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
01-Aug-2016 20:04 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Nature, Source, Narrative]

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