Accident Robinson R22 Beta G-BOEY, Thursday 16 January 1997
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Date:Thursday 16 January 1997
Type:Silhouette image of generic R22 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R22 Beta
Owner/operator:Bristow Helicopters Ltd
Registration: G-BOEY
MSN: 0752
Year of manufacture:1988
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:East of M23 Motorway, Junction 8, near Redhill Aerodrome, Surrey -   United Kingdom
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Redhill Aerodrome (KRH/EGKR), Surrey
Destination airport:Redhill Aerodrome (KRH/EGKR), Surrey
Investigating agency: AAIB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Written off (destroyed) 16 January 1997 when crashed East of M23 Motorway, Junction 8, near Redhill Aerodrome, South Nutfield, Redhill, Surrey, during a solo night training flight; the helicopter crashed with low rotor energy and lack of engine power, possibly due to an inlet value problem, killing the pilot (sole person on board). According to a contemporary newspaper report ("Daily Mirror" - Friday 17 January 1997)

"Pilot killed near M 23

A PILOT was killed last night when his helicopter crashed near a busy motorway. The chopper burst into flames less than 30 yards from the busy London-Brighton M 23.

John Myland, who lives nearby, said: "It would have been an absolute disaster if it had hit the motorway." The dead pilot, a trainee, had taken off from a flying school in Redhill, Surrey, just minutes before the crash.

"Liverpool Echo" - Friday 17 January 1997

Pilot killed: Accident investigators were examining the wreckage of a helicopter which crashed and burst into flames close to the M23 at South Nutfield, Surrey, killing the pilot.

According to the following extract from the official AAIB report into the accident:

"The student pilot, a Nigerian national, was undergoing the night flying phase of a formal course for the award of a United Kingdom Commercial Pilot's Licence (Helicopter), (CPL(H)). He had been briefed for a solo circuit detail. The evidence of two witnesses, who were just to the north of the take-off flight path, indicated that the helicopter was only about 100 feet agl as it approached the M23 motorway; it should have been at least 400 feet agl at this point.

Shortly before 1800 hours, the pilot took over the aircraft on a'rotors running change' and called for permission to hover taxi to the holding point of Runway 08. At 1804:30 hrs, he was given clearance to line up; permission to take off was given about one minute later. The Duty Instructor reported that the helicopter carried out a 'normal night towering take off' to about 75 feet agl; his attention was then drawn away from G-BOEY.

It was in a level attitude and appeared to be flying normally, in an easterly direction. As it crossed the motorway, it turned right and began to descend. It then pitched steeply nose down and they heard the sound of an impact shortly afterwards. One of the witnesses noted a regular and, to her, unusual sound from the helicopter which continued to the point of impact; another witness also reported hearing a similar unusual sound.

The helicopter had struck the ground in a level field immediately to the east of the M23 Motorway whilst travelling in a direction of about 130° magnetic; the ground was part frozen and fairly hard. At impact, the aircraft had been steeply nose down and the forward ends of both skids had broken off and remained embedded at the point of impact.

The angles of entry and remainder of the skid ends indicated that the aircraft had struck the ground about 25 degrees nose down, with a roll attitude about 20 degrees to the right and slightly yawed to the right. As a result of the impact, it had yawed further to the right and rapidly pitched further nose down.

The forward part of the cabin was shattered completely at initial impact and the pilot was thrown out. Apart from the fragments of the cabin, the only significant component which had become detached and remained close to the initial point of impact was the outer two feet of one main rotor blade".

The AAIB report confirms that the helicopter was "destroyed"; as a result, the registration G-BOEY was cancelled by the CAA on 5 June 1997 as "destroyed"

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


1. AAIB:
2. Daily Mirror - Friday 17 January 1997
3. Liverpool Echo - Friday 17 January 1997

Revision history:

28-Mar-2015 20:58 Dr. John Smith Added
22-May-2016 17:39 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source, ]
29-Jul-2022 16:29 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Source, Narrative, Category, ]
29-Jul-2022 16:31 Dr. John Smith Updated [Category, ]
04-Aug-2022 21:27 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative, ]
04-Aug-2022 21:27 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, ]

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