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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 18983
Last updated: 21 November 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Robinson R44
Registration: G-TLME
C/n / msn: 0062
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Wheelton Moor, 2 nm east of Chorley, Lancashire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Blackpool Airport (BLK/EGNH)
Destination airport:Coventry Airport (CVT/EGBE)
Investigating agency: AAIB
Written off (destroyed) 1-2-2000: Aircraft crashed on open moorland in poor weather (low cloud & mist) at Wheelton Moor, 2 nautical miles east of Chorley, Lancashire. All three persons on board (2 crew and 1 passenger) killed. According to the following excerpt from the official AAIB report:

"The R44's flight proceeded uneventfully until approaching the area of Leyland when the helicopter, accompanied by a Bell 206 in loose formation, crossed the M6 and began following the M61 motorway.

This was at variance with the R44 commander's stated intention of following the M6 and suggests that the he was unsure of his position. As they approached deteriorating weather conditions, at a reported height of 600 feet, the R44 was seen to turn to the left and then enter cloud. If the commander had been certain of his position at this time it is unlikely that he would have turned to the left, towards high ground, when a turn to the right would have kept him over low lying, relatively flat terrain.

An eye witness on the ground and the pilot of the Bell 206 both described the left turn, prior to entering the cloud, as appearing to be a perfectly normal manoeuvre. The first acknowledgement by the commander that he was in difficulty was his transmission at 1644:10 hrs; 'WE'RE ACTUALLY IN THE CLOUD NOW YOU CAN GIVE US SOME VECTORS'. During the next 92 seconds the commander made 4 further radio transmissions but made no reference to any technical malfunction. His stated intention to climb to 1,500 feet to get out of the cloud is a further suggestion that his problem was not of a technical nature. Furthermore, following extensive examination of the wreckage no evidence was found of any technical failure. It is therefore considered to be unlikely that any technical failure contributed to this accident.

The erratic flight path, illustrated by the radar data during the 92 seconds that the helicopter was in cloud, together with the variations in airspeed, suggest that the handling pilot had become disorientated and was unable to control the helicopter. The commander's confusion of 'east' for 'west' might also be indicative of a high mental workload whilst he was attempting to resolve his disorientation. Neither pilot was trained or qualified to fly the helicopter by sole reference to flight instruments. It is therefore most probable that the helicopter was flown into the cloud inadvertently and the handling pilot became disorientated. He was then unable to control the helicopter, which subsequently struck the ground."

Damage sustained to airframe: Per the AAIB report "Aircraft destroyed". As a result, the registratation G-TLME was cancelled by the CAA as aircraft "destroyed" 29-6-2000


1. AAIB;
2. CAA:
4. NTSB Identification: NYC00WA071 at

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

Revision history:

17-May-2008 11:10 ASN archive Added
07-Mar-2009 11:00 harro Updated
25-May-2013 23:26 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Source, Narrative]
23-Nov-2014 16:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code]
06-Jul-2016 16:43 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Source, Narrative]

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