Accident Robinson R44 Raven II ZS-RXY, Saturday 30 September 2023
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Date:Saturday 30 September 2023
Time:15:25 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R44 Raven II
Registration: ZS-RXY
MSN: 10910
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Pine Ridge Suburb -   South Africa
Phase: Take off
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:One United sports ground in Pine Ridge
Destination airport:Burgersfort
Investigating agency: CAA S.A.
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On Saturday afternoon, 30 September 2023, a pilot and two passengers on-board a Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter with registration ZS-RXY were on a commercial charter flight from One United sports ground in Pine Ridge, approximately 1 nautical mile (nm) north of Witbank Aerodrome (FAWI) in Mpumalanga province, with the intention to fly to Burgersfort in Limpopo province when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) by day prevailed at the time of the flight which was conducted under the provisions of Part 127 of the Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR) 2011
as amended.
The pilot reported that around 1054Z on Saturday morning 30 September 2023, he collected two passengers from Pietersburg Civil Aerodrome (FAPI) in Polokwane, Limpopo province, and thereafter flew to Groblersdal Aerodrome (FAGL), also in Limpopo province, to refuel the helicopter.
The first passenger was seated on the left front seat and the second passenger was seated on the rear seat behind the pilot (front right side). The flight to FAGL was uneventful. About 93 litres (I) of Avgas 100LL fuel was uplifted at FAGL. The helicopter took off again to Pine Ridge, Emalahleni, and landed at One United sports ground. The duration of the flight was 1.1 hours.
The two passengers disembarked from the helicopter, and the pilot remained behind awaiting their return. Around 1504Z, the two passengers returned to the sports ground where the helicopter was parked; they requested that the pilot fly them to Burgersfort in Limpopo province. The pilot performed a pre-flight inspection, and no abnormalities were noted. Once on-board, the pilot conducted a safety briefing and made sure that the passengers were properly harnessed before he started the engine.
He allowed it (the engine) to warm up until all the instruments had stabilised and were within the normal operating limits (green arch). At 1520Z, the helicopter lifted off and the pilot kept an eye on the bystanders at the sports ground.
Whilst approximately 30 feet (ft) above ground level (AGL) at a forward speed of approximately 25 knots, the revolutions per minute (RPM) light illuminated which indicated low main rotor RPM, this was followed by the audio warning buzzer. The helicopter lost height and crash-landed on Gazania Street in Pine Ridge before it rolled over to the right. As it rolled, the rotor blades struck the ground.
The helicopter came to rest on its right side. The pilot turned off the master and fuel switches. No pre- or post-impact fire was reported. All the occupants disembarked from the helicopter through the left front door and windscreen; they were taken to Emalahleni Hospital for medical assessment. They were later released from hospital; none of them was injured. The helicopter was substantially damaged.

Probable Cause
The main rotor RPM decayed as the helicopter climbed out before it reached an air speed of 50 knots as outlined in the height velocity diagram; as a result, there was loss of lift and the subsequent crash-landing on the street.

Contributing Factors
Low-level operation within the danger area of the height velocity diagram.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAA S.A.
Report number: CA18/2/3/10370
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 months
Download report: Final report




Revision history:

30-Jan-2024 13:18 ASN Added
30-Jan-2024 13:20 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative, Plane category]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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