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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 196229
Last updated: 19 August 2020
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Date:21-JUN-2017
Time:11:00 appr
Type:Silhouette image of generic UH1 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 204B
Owner/operator:South West Helicopters
Registration: VH-EQF
C/n / msn: 2020
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Pureora Forest Park, Pureora -   New Zealand
Phase: En route
Nature:Ferry/positioning
Departure airport:Taumarunui
Destination airport:Oruanui
Narrative:
The helicopter caught fire whilst being positioned for maintenance
The pilot was able to carry out a forced landing in a clear area and escaped unhurt. There was a post impact fire.
He was airlifted to Taumarunui hospital by rescue helicopter.

While enroute to a maintenance facility to troubleshoot avionics degradation, the pilot smelled something burning and turned off all unnecessary electrical items. Smoke and flames were observed through gaps in the instrument panel. The pilot identified a clearing approximately 1-2 miles from his position and turned to land. He shut down the engine and performed an autorotation to the clearing. Due to smoke in the cockpit, he was unable to see out of the front windscreen and made his approach and landing by looking through the chin bubble. After landing, he unsuccessfully attempted to suppress the fire with a handheld fire extinguisher. He secured his license and 'crash bag' and moved away from the helicopter, which was then engulfed in flames and destroyed. The pilot built a signal fire and used flares to signal a passing aircraft and was on site for approximately 3.5 hours before being located. There was insufficient evidence remaining to determine the source of the fire. The pilot had observed rodent excrement in the aircraft several days prior to the accident. The hypotheses established in the insurer's report are that the degradation of the avionics may have been due to rodent activity, and a nest in the heater duct located behind the dash may have acted as a source of ignition. The remains of the aircraft were recovered from the site, and the pilot did not sustain any injuries in the accident.

Sources:

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/93933435/crashed-helicopter-found-near-lake-taupo
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11880195
http://mrcaviation.blogspot.nl/2017/06/bell-204b-vh-eqf-updated.html
https://www.casa.gov.au/aircraft-register?search_api_views_fulltext=&vh=EQF&field_ar_serial=
https://www.caa.govt.nz/script/accident-details?Oc=17/3636


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
21-Jun-2017 07:12 Geo Added
21-Jun-2017 12:03 Iceman 29 Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
24-Jun-2017 06:16 Anon. Updated [Registration, Embed code]
24-Jun-2017 06:17 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Source]
26-Mar-2018 10:06 Aerossurance Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]
19-May-2018 02:57 Ron Averes Updated [Location]

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