Accident Robinson R22 HP HB-XOC, Sunday 5 January 1986
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Date:Sunday 5 January 1986
Time:15:51 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic R22 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R22 HP
Owner/operator:HELIBA Helicopter Basel AG
Registration: HB-XOC
MSN: 0327
Year of manufacture:1983
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Unterbeinwil, near Grenchen -   Switzerland
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Grenchen - LSZG
Destination airport:Basel-Mülhausen - LFSB
Investigating agency: BFU Switz.
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On January 5, 1986, about 15:51 local time, a Robinson R22 helicopter, registered in Switzerland as HB-XOC, crashed near Grenchen, Switzerland, after an in-flight separation of the tailboom. The pilot and his wife were on a personal flight and had planned to fly round trip from Basel-Mulhausen to Grenich, Switzerland.

Witnesses reported observing the helicopter in a wide gradual turn and heard a loud noise, "like hearing a machine gun burst," and subsequently witnessed pieces of the tail boom break apart in flight. The helicopter entered a steep descent as it fell to the ground. Pieces of the tail boom and tail rotor were found about 150 meters from the main wreckage.

The private helicopter pilot and his wife were killed, and the helicopter was destroyed. The pilot had accumulated 75 pilot flight hours, all of which were in the R22 helicopter. The investigation by the Swiss Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) found that the right and left cabin doors were located 10 and 15 meters from the fuselage. The winds in the vicinity were reported from the southwest at 10 to 15 knots, gusting to 30 knots.

A friend of the pilot's stated that he had informed the pilot of gusty conditions over the Jura Mountains, west of the intended flight route, before the pilot's departure. The pilot reportedly replied that if the winds were too gusty he would divert his flight from his intended route to avoid adverse conditions. AAIB reported that the reason for the loss of control and subsequent crash of the R22 helicopter was that the main rotor blade struck and severed the tail assembly. It did not determine what factors may have led to the accident.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BFU Switz.
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report



Revision history:

04-Sep-2010 12:39 Alpine Flight Added
07-Feb-2016 22:07 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Source, Narrative]
07-Feb-2016 22:08 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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