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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 215892
Last updated: 4 June 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic H500 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
McDonnell Douglas MD 500E (369E)
Registration: VH-JBE
C/n / msn: 0148E
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Charlottes Pass, NSW -   Australia
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Charlottes Pass, NSW
Destination airport:YCOO
Investigating agency: BASI
The helicopter was being operated in clear conditions, with a five knot southwesterly breeze and an outside air temperature of minus six degrees Celsius. After landing on a snow covered ridge, the passengers advised that they would require only a short period of time to complete their work. While waiting, the pilot maintained sufficient power to prevent the helicopter sinking deeper into the snow than approximately 45 centimetres. On departure, the helicopter lifted normally clear of the snow into the hover, then turned approximately 45 degrees to the left, to follow the ridge line instead of flying direct across the valley to the next destination. During takeoff, slight sink was encountered. This was controlled by an increase in collective pitch, but almost immediately further sink occurred. The pilot again increased collective pitch and forward cyclic control expecting to accelerate through the sink. The skids contacted the snow surface, with the right hand skid digging in deeper, causing the helicopter to roll to the right. In response, left cyclic control and full collective were applied, but the helicopter continued rolling to the right, allowing the main rotor blades to contact the snow, which caused the helicopter to overturn. The prevailing conditions would appear to preclude the possibility of power failure caused by snow ingested through the engine air intake. A full mechanical inspection was made of the helicopter and its engine, but no fault was detected. It is possible the aircraft was over-rotated, allowing the skid toes to contact the snow. The cause of this accident was not determined.


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BASI
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

01-Oct-2018 02:01 Pineapple Added

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