Monday, October 17, 2016

Robinson R44 Raven II, ZK-HTH: Fatal accident occurred October 30, 2016 in Glenbervie Forest, NE of Whangarei

NTSB Identification: WPR17WA016
Accident occurred Sunday, October 30, 2016 in Kamo, New Zealand, New Zealand
Aircraft: ROBINSON R44, registration:
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On October 30, 2016, a Robinson R44, ZK-HTH, was destroyed by fire after it collided with terrain near Kamo, New Zealand, The helicopter was operated by Helisika Agricultural Limited under the pertinent regulations of the government of New Zealand. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of New Zealand. This report is for information purposes only and contains only information released by the Government of New Zealand. Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Transport Accident Investigation Commission

P.O. Box 10323, The Terrace

Wellington 6143, New Zealand

Level 16, 80 the Terrace

Wellington 6011, New Zealand

Phone 0800 188 926

Fax +64 4 499 1510


Deaths place Robinson helicopters on watchlist:   Helicopter models blamed for 18 deaths in New Zealand have been put under the highest possible level of scrutiny.

The Robinson helicopters have been formally added to the Transport Accident Investigation Commission's (TAIC) official watchlist of "most pressing concerns".

The helicopters have been plagued by so-called mast-bumping incidents, in which the main rotor blades strike the cabin, causing the helicopter to break up in mid-air.

Fourteen such incidents have been investigated since 1996.

Commissioner Stephen Davies Howard said there was a real risk of further accidents.

"We are extremely concerned at the number of people dying as a result of Robinson helicopters crashing in New Zealand [and] we need to understand why."

People flying Robinson helicopters needed to be aware of TAIC's concern, he said.

"The commission is seeking a concerted action by the regulatory authorities, the manufacturer, operators, instructors and pilots, to promote the safe operation of Robinson helicopters."

TAIC raised concerns about Robinson helicopters earlier this year, in a report into a fatal crash near Queenstown in February 2015.

Pilot Stephen Combe was training James Patterson-Gardner when their Robinson R44 broke up in mid-air and crashed, killing them both.

In the report, TAIC said there had been "many other fatal mast-bump accidents involving Robinson helicopters in New Zealand and around the world that have gone largely unexplained".

"It is difficult to identify the lessons from an accident and make meaningful recommendations to prevent similar accidents if the underlying causes cannot be determined," the report said.

"This is a serious safety issue that the industry, including pilots, operators, the manufacturer and the regulator, will need to address."

In response to that report, the victims' families said despite the Civil Aviation Authority introducing stricter rules for Robinson R44 helicopters, the model should not be certified to fly.

They said if the men had been in any other aircraft type the accident would not have happened.

"We see a disproportionate accident and kill rate in Robinsons compared to any other aircraft which must be addressed, particularly as Robinsons make up around 40 percent of helicopters in New Zealand."

In response to today's action by TAIC, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it had already mandated safety awareness training for all Robinson R22 and R44 pilots.

A spokeswoman said the Robinson R66 was not included, in line with the Federal Aviation Administration.

"Robinson helicopters are safe if flown according to manufacturer's guidelines," the spokeswoman said.

"CAA analysis indicates that improved pilot training and increased experience is the solution... [The] CAA has funded Robinson Helicopter Company training experts to conduct the trainer courses in New Zealand to ensure pilots fly the aircraft within their recommended limits."

Helicopters were an area of concern for the CAA and it was putting more effort and resources into the sector, she said.

It was also considering installing cockpit video recorders in helicopters.


The two men who were killed in a helicopter crash near Whangarei have been named.

Police said the men were Allan Jessop, aged 42, of Tangiteroria and Derek Hammond, aged 49, of Kauri.

Police have now removed the bodies from the crash site and they are being transported to Auckland for a post-mortem to be carried out.

It is believed the helicopter that crashed shortly after 2pm yesterday, in the Glenbervie Forest, went into native bush on a hillside about 200m below the ridge line.

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