Helicopter crash at Fenland Airfield, Holbeach St Johns, was pilot error
A 36-year-old Spalding pilot walked away unhurt after his helicopter crash-landed at Fenland Airfield but the aircraft was suffered extensive damage after rolling over when it hit the ground.
The incident happened on the afternoon of July 1 after the 1994-built Rotorway Executive helicopter – reg G BZES – owned by Ricky Boor, of South Parade, had taken off to go to the fuel pumps to refuel.
A newly-published Air Accident Investigation Branch report into the crash says that the pilot who was relatively inexperienced, with just 71 hours flying time, had inadvertently positioned the aircraft for a down-wind descent.
However, it says that the helicopter then developed a rate of descent which the pilot was unable to arrest, and it struck the ground heavily and rolled over.
The report says that the pilot later said he had forgotten he was travelling down-wind in his final landing approach.
It goes on to describe the problems that landing with the wind coming from behind instead of from in front can create during a landing attempt and says : “In this case, the selection of a landing direction which, inadvertently, was orientated in a downwind direction, created conditions that were challenging to a pilot of limited experience and lack of recency and may also have required greater power than the engine could produce.”
Describing the final moments of the flight, the report says : “The helicopter initially handled correctly, but as he (the pilot) approached the ground, it seemed to suddenly increase its descent rate, despite his efforts to prevent this.
“It struck the ground heavily with the rear skid, before pitching forward. The main skids and main rotor then struck the ground and the helicopter rolled over. The pilot, secured by a full harness, was not injured and was able to exit via the passenger door.”