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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 174032
Last updated: 26 September 2017
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Date:27-JAN-2003
Time:01:16
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Robinson R44
Owner/operator:The Last Great Journey Ltd
Registration: G-NUDE
C/n / msn: 0743
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:36nm NW of Smith Island, South Shetland Islands, British Antarctic Ter -   Antarctica
Phase: En route
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Cabo de Hornos in Southern Chile
Destination airport:Teniente Marsh AB, King George Island, Antarctica
Narrative:
In late June 2002, Robinson R44 G-NUDE became the first ever piston-engined helicopter to land at the Geographic North Pole. Written off (damaged beyond repair) when ditched 27 January 2003, due to engine failure, 36 nautical miles north-west of Smith Island, one of the South Shetland Islands of the British Antarctic Territory. According to the following extract from the official AAIB report into the accident:

"The two pilots were planning to fly from Cabo de Hornos in Southern Chile across the Drake Passage to Teniente Marsh Airbase on King George Island, Antarctica. After spending several days waiting for a favourable tailwind, they departed at 21:05 hrs for the 440 nautical mile crossing. They established the helicopter in the cruise at 700 feet and a 30 knot tailwind gave them a ground speed of 120 knot.

Just over four hours later, approaching King George Island, they observed sea fog ahead of them so they headed to the southwest and attempted to make landfall. Shortly afterwards a vibration was felt, emanating from the engine area, accompanied by a reduction in power output. It became necessary to lower the collective lever to maintain rotor rpm which resulted in a slow rate of descent.

After approximately 30 seconds and at 500 feet, the oil pressure fell to zero, the low pressure oil warning light illuminated and a couple of seconds later the engine stopped. The pilot in the right hand seat flew the helicopter in auto rotation whilst the left hand seat occupant climbed out onto the skid and gathered the life raft and emergency kit.

At 20 feet above the sea he jumped into the water. The helicopter was then turned into wind and settled onto the sea surface with zero ground speed. The rotor blades stopped within a few seconds and the remaining pilot jumped into the sea. The helicopter sank almost immediately.

Both pilots boarded the life raft, activated their emergency beacon and used their satellite telephone to call for help. Six hours later they were spotted by the crew of a Chilean Airforce Twin Otter who directed a Chilean Navy vessel to the scene to affect a rescue (10 hours after ditching) and convey the pilots to Teniente Marsh Airbase".

Sources:

1. AAIB: http://www.aaib.gov.uk/publications/bulletins/july_2003/robinson_022844.cfm
2. CAA: http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=60&pagetype=65&appid=1&mode=reg&fullregmark=NUDE
3. http://www.griffin-helicopters.co.uk/accidentdetails.aspx?accidentkey=1823
4. http://www.aviastar.org/helicopters_eng/robinson-44.php
5. http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/aviation-international-news/2007-01-31/report-inconclusive-about-why-r44-ditched-water
6. http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/96293-g-nude-aaib.html
7. http://www.robinsonheli.com/media/pressrelease/northpole.pdf


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
21-Feb-2015 22:20 Dr. John Smith Added

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