1 August 2013 © David Eyre
The helicopter then made a hard landing, causing the tailboom and rotor to break away from the fuselage as the aircraft rolled to the right. The Heliwest pilot and Channel Ten cameraman were both able to walk away from the crash.
The Australian Transport Safety Board (ATSB) investigation has determined that as the pilot turned right, a cross-wind from the left caused a loss of tail rotor effectiveness. This caused a temporary loss of control and a forced landing.
The report said “The slope that he landed on resulted in the helicopter immediately rolling over with the engine still operating. Fortunately, it did not catch fire, a factor that can make all the difference for the survival of occupants in such accidents.”
The ATSB said that all helicopter pilots should be familiar with the recommended recovery techniques, and Heliwest has since implemented more training for their pilots.