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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 188852
Last updated: 26 September 2017
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Date:10-APR-2003
Time:16:07hrs
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Robinson R44
Owner/operator:ETI (UK) Ltd
Registration: G-NIOL
C/n / msn: 1291
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Avenue Lodge, Brightling Park, near Robertsbridge, East Sussex -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Lydd Airport, Ashford, Kent (LYX/EGMD)
Destination airport:Punnett's Town, Heathfield, East Sussex
Investigating agency: AAIB
Narrative:
Written off (destroyed) 10-4-2003: Aircraft crash landed into trees at Avenue Lodge in Brightling Park, near Robertsbridge, East Sussex, following stall at 1,200 feet agl. Minor injury to 1 Person On Board: he was taken to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings for a check-up. According to the following excerpts from the official AAIB report into the accident:

"The pilot had planned to fly from Lydd to a landing site near Heathfield, West Sussex. Whilst in the cruise, at an altitude of 1,200 feet and at 100 knots IAS, the pilot passed the southern edge of a rain shower. Shortly after, he noticed that the pitot-static instruments were fluctuating, with variations in indicated airspeed of 20-30 knots, vertical speed excursions up to 1,000 feet per minute, and similar effects upon the altimeter, however, no major turbulence was present.

The pilot decided to reduce speed to 70 knots to see if this had any effect on the fluctuating instruments. As he reached this speed, he became aware of the governor opening the throttle, apparently in response to a slight yaw. He then states that the engine and rotor RPM started to decay, he attempted to roll the throttle open but found that it was already fully open.

Correcting the yaw with right pedal, he lowered the collective and rolled the throttle closed to enter auto-rotation. As auto-rotation was established, he raised the collective slightly to reduce rotor speed and noticed that the engine was still running. He tried to execute a powered recovery by opening the throttle, noticing that the engine RPM needle came up to meet the rotor RPM, but it seemed unable to output any power to the rotors.

The pilot's recollection of the events now became hazy, but he believes he raised the collective to try to power the rotor system, but his attempts to do a power recovery distracted him from the rotor RPM which fell "dangerously low". The helicopter then entered what the pilot described as "freefall", accompanied by uncontrollable yawing and a high rate of descent. He decided that his only option was to obtain forward airspeed despite being close to the ground; he managed to achieve this together with a decreased rate of descent. The pilot, believing that the helicopter could not be recovered, now searched for the best place to do a run-on landing.

The only option appeared to be in a large garden with trees at the rear and the touchdown was made there, still with considerable forward speed. The helicopter ran into the trees and came to rest severely damaged, but the pilot suffered only minor injuries. There was no fire and he evacuated the aircraft without assistance: the emergency services attended shortly afterwards".

An East Sussex Fire Brigade spokeswoman said: "The helicopter crashed into woods. The pilot was uninjured. Approximately 150 litres of fuel leaked into the ground. The brigade ensured the area was safe."

Nature of Damage sustained to airframe: Per the AAIB report "Helicopter destroyed". As a result, the registration G-NIOL was cancelled by the CAA on 07-08-2003 as "destroyed".

Sources:

1. AAIB: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5422ebc7ed915d13740000b9/dft_avsafety_pdf_027265.pdf
2. CAA: http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/modalapplication.aspx?catid=1&pagetype=65&appid=1&mode=reg&fullregmark=NIOL
3. http://www.griffin-helicopters.co.uk/accidentdetails.aspx?accidentkey=1822
4. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2937793.stm
5. http://www.helicopter-redeye.com/P14B_GNIOL.htm
6. Robinson R44 G-NIOL at Denham 02-03-2003: http://www.airport-data.com/aircraft/photo/000772344.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
25-Jul-2016 15:23 Dr.John Smith Added
25-Jul-2016 15:32 Dr.John Smith Updated [Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
25-Jul-2016 15:36 Dr.John Smith Updated [Location, Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description