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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 31117
Last updated: 16 September 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic B06 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 206L-4 Longranger IV
Owner/operator:Wickford Development Company Ltd
Registration: G-WFRD
MSN: 52007
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Sandon, near Chelmsford, Essex -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Woodbridge, Suffolk
Destination airport:Brentwood, Essex
Investigating agency: AAIB
Written off 15 November 1997: Landed heavily at Sandon, near Chelmsford, Essex, during a precautionary landing due to deteriorating weather conditions. Substantial damage.Of the 5 persons on board, 2 sustained serious injuries, and 3 sustained minor injuries.

On approaching the Chelmsford area, during a VFR flight from Woodbridge to Brentwood, the cloud base reduced to 1,000 feet, and the pilot had consequently descended to 800 feet to remain below cloud. In view of the deteriorating weather conditions, the pilot elected to land at Hatfield Peverel. Southend ATC were informed of this at 15:55 hours.

After considering the weather over a period of approximately 35 minutes, during which time the passengers clothing became damp in the light drizzle, pilot took off again calling Southend Air Traffic Control at 16:31 hours stating he was routing to Wickford at 1,200 feet VFR requesting FIS. Radio then remained on permanent transmission until 16:37 hours.

At this stage the weather conditions deteriorated further, and simultaneously, the interior of the helicopter misted up, attempts to clear the windscreens with the blower system, and a chamois leather cloth were unsuccessful. Pilot elected to make a precautionary landing at Sandon, near Chelmsford.

The field selected was bounded by a hedge, and at a late stage pilot became aware of a fence, and cables at the far end. Landing described by pilot as 'very heavy'; analysis of the structural damage by maintainence engineers familiar with the type indicates that the vertical deceleration was extremely high.

Sunset had occurred at 16:12 hours, and eyewitnesses described the conditions at the time of the accident as 'dark and gloomy' in a light drizzle; this observation was supported by an aftercast obtained from the Meteorological Office."

The AAIB report into the accident notes that there was "Severe damage to airframe". Presumably it was enough to render the helicopter as "damaged beyond repair", as the registration G-WFRD was cancelled by the CAA on 23 April 1998 as "destroyed"


1. AAIB:
2. CAA:

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

Revision history:

27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
06-Apr-2015 22:27 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]

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