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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 70667
Last updated: 24 February 2020
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Time:19:20 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic UH1 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Garlick TH-1F (Bell 204)
Owner/operator:Caloundra Helicopter Centre P/L
Registration: VH-UHD
C/n / msn: 7309
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Eugowra, NSW -   Australia
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Fire fighting
Departure airport:Eugowra, NSW
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: ATSB
On 23 December 2009, a Garlick Helicopters Incorporated TH-1F helicopter, registered VH-UHD, was engaged in aerial firefighting operations in the Nangar National Park, New South Wales. At about 200 feet above ground level, the nose of the helicopter unexpectedly yawed to the right. The pilot made a corrective input on the tail-rotor pedals, but was unable to stop the yaw and the helicopter began to rotate. The pilot guided the helicopter to a less-timbered area for an emergency landing. The helicopter descended into the trees and was seriously damaged. The pilot, the sole occupant, was seriously injured.

The loss of directional control was due to a structural failure in the helicopter's tail-rotor control system, likely precipitated by the failure of an attachment bolt

This particular helicopter was built as a US Army "Huey" (UH-1H) serial number 66-1233. On 6 May 1987 withdrawn from use to AMARC at Davis Monthan AFB (coded HF0155). Sold off in 1994; purchased out of Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ by Ray Bluff (Private Owner) and converted to Civilian FAA Restricted Category by Western International Aviation in Tucson, AZ. Civil registered N504AH. Used for external load operations in San Diego, CA area for two years then sold to second private owner in Oregon, USA, from April 1995 to March 2001.

Converted to Garlick-Bell TH-1F by Caloundra Helicopter Center from 21 April 2008 and registered VH-WTT. Later re-registered VH-UHD. As "Helitrak 280", written off 23 December 2009 in crash at Nangar National Park, New South Wales, as above, seriously injuring the Canadian pilot.

ATSB Conclusion
The investigation identified a safety issue with the maintenance and operation of ex-military helicopters being used in repetitive heavy lift operations. In response, on 5 July 2011, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority published Airworthiness Bulletin 02‑40 Issue 1 to advise operators and maintainers to investigate the basis for, and the correct implementation of, the continuing airworthiness requirements of the applicable type certificate data sheet and incorporated supplemental type certificates, particularly in regard to the retirement lives of all life-limited components.



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

Revision history:

24-Dec-2009 01:35 RobertMB Added
06-May-2014 05:08 Dr. John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
29-Jun-2014 17:53 TB Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Destination airport, Damage]
29-Jun-2014 18:02 TB Updated [Aircraft type, Location]

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