Accident Robinson R44 Raven I OO-FLY, Sunday 8 October 2017
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Date:Sunday 8 October 2017
Time:10:43 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R44 Raven I
Registration: OO-FLY
MSN: 1857
Year of manufacture:2008
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Namur-Suarlée Airfield (EBNM) -   Belgium
Phase: Take off
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Namur-Suarlée Airfield (EBNM)
Destination airport:Namur-Suarlée Airfield (EBNM)
Investigating agency: AAIU Belgium
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The pilot involved in the accident advertised on a dedicated internet website under the trade name ‘Lore Hélicoptère’ a variety of services involving helicopters (training, short flights, ..). As the pilot didn’t own any aircraft and his organization didn’t hold any Air Operator Certificate, the pilot stated that all these services were actually performed by other aviation companies.
This pilot was sponsoring a beauty contest event, called ‘Top Women’ for which it was part of the sponsorship agreement to reward the winners and the organizers with helicopter rides, free of any charge.
On Sunday 8 October 2017, the winners and the organizers of the beauty contest event were invited by the pilot for their free 40 minutes-long helicopter flights. The pilot, holder of a Private Pilot Licence (PPL(H)), intended to perform these flights by himself, considering that the nonrevenue generating character of the flights would eliminate the requirements applicable to Commercial Air Transport (CAT). Two flights were scheduled for the 6 passengers in total.
The pilot postponed his flights somewhat due to the meteorological conditions south of the Namur airfield. At about 10:00 UTC, the meteorological conditions improved and the pilot decided they were adequate for the intended flight. He performed the pre-flight, checked the fuel quantity (about 45 litres in each tank), the weight and balance and invited three passengers to board the helicopter. He did not give a formal pre-flight briefing to the passengers but checked that the safety belt of each passenger was fastened and that the doors were properly closed.
The pilot stated that after the boarding he found out that the intercom wasn’t working. This gave him some stress as this would prevent him to easily communicate with the passengers during the flight.
He experienced difficulties when starting the engine. It took him six attempts to finally start the engine. He engaged the clutch and warmed the engine in accordance with the starting and run-up check list.
Just before the lift-off, the helicopter entered in a rapid counter-clockwise rotation (Nose left). The helicopter banked and the main rotor blades touched the ground. The helicopter ended up on its right side. The occupants climbed out with light injuries and were brought to the hospital.

The probable cause of the accident is the pilot’s inability to properly neutralize the helicopter movement with the cyclic and pedals during the transition from the ground to a stabilized hover before the take-off.

Contributing safety factor:
In this occurrence, the pilot put himself under conditions of stress conducive to human errors. To achieve an optimal flight safety, the pilot should only focus on the flight preparation and the flight itself. More than experienced pilots, a low experienced pilot should therefore ensure not to be disturbed by external factors and should remain free of any organizational constraints not directly related to the flight.

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



Revision history:

08-Oct-2017 13:05 jan_olieslagers Added
08-Oct-2017 13:07 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Source, Embed code, Damage]
08-Oct-2017 15:55 harro Updated [Registration, Operator, Source]
08-Oct-2017 17:44 Anon. Updated [Registration]
08-Oct-2017 19:11 Anon. Updated [Aircraft type]
08-Oct-2017 19:12 harro Updated [Aircraft type]
09-Oct-2017 09:16 sundevil Updated [Registration, Cn, Source]
10-Oct-2017 10:50 Anon. Updated [Cn]
23-Dec-2018 18:31 harro Updated [Time, Nature, Narrative, Accident report, ]
09-Nov-2022 00:44 Ron Averes Updated [Location, Departure airport, Destination airport]

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