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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 208208
Last updated: 24 August 2021
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Date:23-AUG-1994
Time:12:10
Type:Silhouette image of generic B06 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 206B Jet Ranger III
Owner/operator:
Registration: VH-WCF
MSN: 3134
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants:
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:near Gingin, WA -   Australia
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Fire fighting
Departure airport:YPPH
Destination airport:YPPH
Investigating agency: BASI
Narrative:
The helicopter was dropping incendiary bombs, from 100 feet above ground level, as part of a controlled bush burn. Prior to takeoff the pilot had placed his flying jacket between the rear of the pilot's seat and the incendiary delivery machine. During an incendiary dispatch run the exit chute became detached from the incendiary machine body allowing ignited bombs to fall inside the aircraft. One of these bombs set fire to the pilots jacket and this along, with the burning incendiaries, filled the cabin with dense black smoke. Despite the fact that the passengers opened their doors the dense smoke prevented the pilot from seeing anything either inside or outside the helicopter. He elected to land the aircraft immediately so the crew could extinguish the fire. During the unsighted landing in dense scrub the helicopter collided with a number of trees. It was reported that the clamp attaching the exit chute to the machine body had been secured normally prior to departure. The clamp design relied on friction only, to keep the chute in place. It is probable that natural helicopter vibration was sufficient to overcome the friction allowing the chute to separate. Once the chute separated, ignited incendiary balls were free to roll around inside the aircraft and set fire to the jacket. The design of the incendiary machine did not include any means of restricting the movement of the incendiary balls should they fall out of the machine. It was believed that the balls, which were only armed after they had entered the delivery system, could not escape. For the same reasons it was not believed that flammable material might be in danger if it was stored near the machine and consequently there were no restrictions and no placards prohibiting such storage.

Sources:

https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/1994/aair/199402324/
https://www.atsb.gov.au/media/4934073/199402324.pdf

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: BASI
Status: Investigation completed
Duration:
Download report: Final report
Other occurrences involving this aircraft

15 Apr 1990 VH-WCF 0 300km E of Newman, WA sub
12 Oct 1997 VH-WCF Private 1 204km NNE Geraldton, Aerodrome, WA w/o


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
26-Mar-2018 10:34 Pineapple Added

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description