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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 189997
Last updated: 10 September 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic AS50 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Eurocopter AS 350B2†Ecureuil
Owner/operator:The Helicopter Line
Registration: ZK-HYY
MSN: 3886
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Crown Range, Mount Sale, near Frankton -   New Zealand
Phase: Landing
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Queenstown
Destination airport:Queenstown
Investigating agency: TAIC New Zealand
On Monday 12 September 2016, the weather in the Queenstown area was fine and clear with a moderate westerly wind. The Helicopter Line was using several AS350-B2 (Squirrel) helicopters for tourist flights in the area.
One of the flights was to take five passengers for a snow-landing experience on Mount Vanguard, north of Queenstown. Soon after take-off the pilot saw that the weather had deteriorated in that direction, so he changed the destination to Mount Sale, northeast of Arrowtown.
The pilot approached the intended landing site, at an elevation of approximately 1,500 metres, from the north. He said that the approach proceeded normally until the final stage, when the rate of descent suddenly increased, so he increased the power to go around. Although the helicopter responded to the pilotís control inputs, it struck the ground hard with the landing gear and the main rotor blades, and came to rest on its left side.
One of the passengers suffered a minor injury to his knee. The helicopter was substantially damaged.

The Commission found that the landing approach was made with a tailwind when the pilot was expecting a crosswind. The pilot made a relatively fast, low and close approach to the landing site. This technique might not give pilots enough time to confirm the actual wind before landing, nor does it ensure that their intended escape routes remain useable throughout the approach.

The Commission identified a safety issue in that the operator had had four serious landing accidents in three years. While there were some similarities in the circumstances, the factors for most of these accidents were not determined conclusively by the Commissionís inquiries or by the operatorís internal investigations.

Therefore the Commission made a recommendation that the chief executive of The Helicopter Line, in consultation with the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority, review The Helicopter Lineís safety management system audit process to ensure that its safety policy, safety assurance, risk management, and promotion of safety are sound.

Key lessons arising from this inquiry were:
- human factors can have both positive and negative effects on situational awareness. It is important for pilots to remain vigilant for changes in environmental conditions.
- the loss of the emergency locator transmitter antenna during the break-up sequence demonstrated once again that an alternative means of independent, real-time flight following would be beneficial in respect of search and rescue. It is prudent to use a flight-following service or facility where possible.




Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: TAIC New Zealand
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 7 months
Download report: Final report
Safety recommendations:

Safety recommendation 004/18 issued 21 February 2018 by TAIC to CAA NZ
Safety recommendation 005/18 issued 21 February 2018 by TAIC to The Helicopter Line


Revision history:

12-Sep-2016 07:07 gerard57 Added
12-Sep-2016 17:03 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
12-Sep-2016 17:04 Aerossurance Updated [Aircraft type]
14-Sep-2016 05:22 Iceman 29 Updated [Source, Narrative]
14-Sep-2016 21:31 Aerossurance Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Source, Narrative]
12-Apr-2018 19:03 harro Updated [Time, Registration, Cn, Nature, Source, Narrative]
14-Apr-2018 09:51 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
17-Aug-2018 17:38 Dr.John Smith Updated [Embed code]

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