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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 218
Last updated: 8 April 2019
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Time:16:40 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic UH1 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 205A-1
Owner/operator:Conair Aviation Ltd.
Registration: C-GFHO
C/n / msn: 30257
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:5 km south of Buxton, Victoria -   Australia
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Cockatoo, Victoria, Australia
Destination airport:Benalla, Victoria, Australia
The Canadian registered helicopter C-GFHO, along with a pilot and maintenance engineer, had recently been shipped to Moorabbin Airport from Canada. It had been partially dismantled for transport to Australia and was re-assembled at Moorabbin Airport during November 1995. It was to have been part of the fire-fighting service to be operated during the fire season by the Victorian Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). For the fire-fighting role, the helicopter had the capability to ferry fire crews and to be used for rappelling operations. It was also equipped with a belly tank for fire bombing. DCNR had planned to base the helicopter at Benalla for the fire season. Some initial testing and training had been done with the aircraft after re-assembly, but it had not formally started fire-fighting operations.

Early on the afternoon of 13 December 1995, the pilot ferried the aircraft from Moorabbin Airport to Cockatoo, 35 km ENE of Moorabbin. During the afternoon it was used at Cockatoo to assist in the training of volunteer fire fighters. During this training the pilot gave familiarisation briefings to the volunteers, including demonstrating the helicopter emergency locator transmitters (ELTs). Two were carried; one was a marine survival beacon, and the other was a Narco ELTIO designed for aviation use. Subsequently, during start-up for a demonstration flight, the pilot discovered that the ELTIO was inadvertently switched on and transmitting the distress signal. He turned the ELT off but did not arm it for impact activation.

On completion of the training exercise, the pilot departed Cockatoo at 1623 ESUT for Benalla, to position for the start of operations. About 5 km S of Buxton, 105 km SSW of Benalla, the engine gearbox failed resulting in loss of drive from the engine to the main transmission. The pilot performed an autorotative descent but failed to reach a clearing. After initial tree impact, the helicopter travelled 60 m horizontally before ground impact. The trees were approximately 25 m high and the terrain was undulating. The helicopter was destroyed in the accident.

The pilot survived the crash but suffered multiple injuries. He undid his safety belt on the right front seat and exited the helicopter from the damaged left side. However, he died before the wreckage was located. The accident was potentially survivable. The pilot carried his flying helmet in the helicopter but had elected not to wear it for the ferry flight. He suffered serious head injuries.


Revision history:

21-Jan-2008 10:00 ASN archive Added
13-Aug-2008 03:00 RobertMB Updated
31-Oct-2011 09:25 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]

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