Accident Bell-Garlick UH-1H Iroquois VH-ONZ,
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Date:Thursday 9 January 2020
Time:15:59 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic UH1 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Bell-Garlick UH-1H Iroquois
Owner/operator:Fleet Helicopters
Registration: VH-ONZ
MSN: 5229
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Ben Boyd National Park, NSW -   Australia
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Fire fighting
Departure airport:Moruya, NSW
Destination airport:Moruya, NSW
Investigating agency: ATSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
The pilot of a Garlick Helicopters UH-1H was conducting aerial fire control operations when the helicopter lost power and collided with water near Eden (Ben Boyd Reservoir), New South Wales. The helicopter rolled inverted in the water and the pilot egressed from the helicopter. The pilot had recently completed helicopter underwater escape training (HUET). The pilot received minor injuries and the helicopter was substantially damaged.

The helicopter was subsequently recovered from the reservoir and inspected by the operator’s maintenance organisation. A borescope inspection of the engine compressor section revealed a rotor blade failure in addition to other rotor blade and inlet guide vane damage.
An engine teardown was conducted by the manufacturer on 13 and 14 October 2020 at their facility in the United States. In addition to the failed compressor rotor blade, they found blade-tip rubbing of all the axial compressor rotor blades and the centrifugal compressor as a result of contact with their respective shrouds. The forward compressor shaft bevel gear was unevenly worn and exhibited excessive heat. There was a failure of the no. 21 roller bearing, which supported the front of the power turbine shaft, and a failure of the no. 1 ball bearing, which supported the front of the rotating compressor assembly. Both bearing failures exhibited excessive heat and wear, such that they could no longer maintain the centreline of their respective rotating assemblies.

Contributing factors
- While hovering over the Ben Boyd reservoir to uplift water for fire control operations, the helicopter's engine failed, which resulted in a collision with water and underwater escape by the pilot.
- For reasons undetermined, the no. 1 and no. 21 bearings at the front of the engine failed due to inadequate lubrication. This resulted in contact between the power and compressor shafts, disconnection of rotational drive to the fuel pump and fuel control, and subsequent fuel starvation.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: ATSB
Report number: AO-2020-003
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report



Revision history:

09-Jan-2020 07:47 gerard57 Added
09-Jan-2020 08:39 Iceman 29 Updated [Aircraft type, Embed code, Photo]
09-Jan-2020 18:52 Geno Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Source, Embed code, Damage, Narrative]
09-Jan-2020 19:41 Kardz Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Source, Embed code, Damage, Narrative]
09-Jan-2020 20:00 harro Updated [Aircraft type]
09-Jan-2020 20:58 Geno Updated [Source]
12-Jan-2020 15:45 Aerossurance Updated [Embed code]
13-Jan-2020 22:13 Aerossurance Updated [Embed code]
25-Jan-2020 04:49 Geno Updated [Source, Narrative]
22-Sep-2020 10:46 Aerossurance Updated [Location, Source]
22-Sep-2020 10:48 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Narrative]
22-Sep-2020 10:53 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
22-Sep-2020 10:57 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
15-Feb-2021 20:31 harro Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]
08-May-2021 14:54 harro Updated [[Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]]
21-Sep-2021 08:48 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
31-May-2022 22:20 Ron Averes Updated [Location]

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