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Narrative:The airfield at Sherburn-in-Elmet has no formal Air Traffic Control facility, so aircraft take-off and landing times are not officially recorded. There was thus no accurate record of the departure time of G-BNUZ.
|C/n / msn:|| 0680|
|Fatalities:||Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2|
|Airplane damage:|| Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||Biggin, North Yorkshire -
|Departure airport:||Sherburn-in-Elmet (EGCJ) North Yorkshire|
However, shortly after take-off, the pilot contacted Church Fenton Approach control at 14.40:51 hours and indicated that the helicopter was airborne from Sherburn and intended to route to the south of the airfield to the southern training area. The pilot was familiar with this area from his training course.
The next contact with the helicopter was at 1506 when the pilot reported his position at Thorne, heading 110°. The helicopter was given a transponder code of 4540 which was received on radar at 15:07.14.
There were then no further transmissions from the helicopter until 1520 hrs. During the intervening period, replay of the radar data indicated that the helicopter flew a generally northerly easterly, then north westerly track, with two distinct wide orbits until 1520:32 hrs. The pilot then called Church Fenton to request MATZ penetration from the southern training area, in order to return to the airfield. This clearance was immediately issued, not above 1,500 feet on the Church Fenton QFE of 1002 mb. The pilot was requested to call again when he had visual contact with Sherburn airfield.
The next transmission from G-BNUZ was at 1521:23 when the pilot indicated that he had Sherburn in sight. The Church Fenton controller then released the helicopter to call Sherburn and to Squawk Standby. There was no reply to this transmission from G-BNUZ. There were no indications from the transmissions of any problem with the helicopter. No witnesses could be found who could indicate whether the aircraft contacted Sherburn radio prior to joining the circuit.
The radar plot had ceased at 1521:26 hrs and no further (primary) radar data was available. At the time of the last transmission, the helicopter was at a position just to the north of Junction 34 of the M62 Motorway, some 10 km south south-east of Sherburn. Analysis of the radar data showed that the average cruising speed was about 85 to 90 kt, which reduced to around 55 kt during the two wide orbits. The normal operating limit speed (VNO) was 92 kt. The accident occurred close to the village of Biggin, some 3 km from the landing area, while the helicopter was tracking southwest, essentially on a direct approach to the airfield at 15:26 hrs.
Some local residents in the village of Biggin noted that the helicopter was flying towards the airfield in a south westerly direction, at a height estimated to be around 500 to 600 feet. With such helicopter traffic being commonplace in this location, little attention was paid to the passage of the helicopter initially. There was then a 'metallic bang' followed by the sound of the engine 'faltering'. Immediately after this, parts were seen to fall from the helicopter and it pitched down and began to descend steeply, one witness describing how the tail boom had creased and the rotor blades could be clearly seen rotating very slowly. The helicopter hit the ground with a 'loud thud', at which time the emergency services were summoned by telephone. Another eyewitness described the engine sound as 'popping or banging' prior to the helicopter descending behind some trees from that witness's viewpoint.
Registration cancelled by the UK Civil Aviation Authority 28/03/2001 as "aircraft destroyed"
||Dr. John Smith
||Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]|
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