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R22 Rolled After Settling In Soft Ground

PUBLISHED: 12:15 23 June 2011 | UPDATED: 14:05 10 October 2012

When the helicopter came to rest, the passenger found himself on his side above the pilot.

A PPL(H) pilot was flying the Robinson R22 Beta near Brecon, Powys, planning to take photographs of a protest march. The wind was calm and visibility good. The pilot and passenger couldn't find the marchers, so the pilot decided to land and get some information. He selected a green area close by a track and, after hovering to check the suitability of the site, attempted to land.

As the helicopter settled, it started to move rearwards and downwards. The pilot applied power and tried to lift off again, but the helicopter started to spin around and the low rotor warning horn and light came on.

Realising he couldn't control the helicopter, the pilot put it back onto the ground, but in doing so it rolled over to the right. When the helicopter came to rest, the passenger found himself on his side above the pilot. From this position he was unable to reach and unfasten his seat belt: the result was that neither of them could get out. Bystanders released the passenger by cutting through his seat belt strap. Both then got out through the left hand door.

The pilot assesses the cause of the accident as his selection of unsuitable, uneven ground. Sixty five years old, he had logged 371 hours, 360 of them on type.

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