Loss of control Accident AgustaWestland AW169 G-VSKP, Saturday 27 October 2018
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Date:Saturday 27 October 2018
Time:20:37 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic A169 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
AgustaWestland AW169
Owner/operator:Foxborough Ltd.
Registration: G-VSKP
MSN: 69018
Fatalities:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:King Power Stadium, Filbert Way, Leicester LE2 7FL -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:King Power Stadium, Filbert Way, Leicester LE2 7FL
Destination airport:London-Stansted Airport (STN/EGSS)
Investigating agency: AAIB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The AgustaWestland AW169 helicopter, used by Leicester City Football Club's owners, impacted a car park just outside LCFC's King Power Stadium in Leicester, after taking off from the pitch after a Leicester City vs West Ham match.
The two pilots and three passengers, including the Club Chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha) died in the accident.

After lifting off from the centre spot of the pitch at the King Power Stadium, the helicopter moved forward and then began to climb out of the stadium on a rearward flightpath while maintaining a northerly heading and with an average rate of climb of between 600 and 700 ft/min. Passing through a height of approximately 250 ft, the pilot began the transition to forward flight by pitching the helicopter nosedown and the landing gear was retracted. The helicopter was briefly established in a right turn before an increasing right yaw rapidly developed, despite the immediate application of corrective control inputs from the pilot. The helicopter reached a radio altimeter height of approximately 430 ft before descending with a high rotation rate. At approximately 75 ft from the ground the collective was fully raised to cushion the touchdown.

The helicopter struck the ground on a stepped concrete surface, coming to rest on its left side. The impact, which likely exceeded the helicopter’s design requirements, damaged the lower fuselage and the helicopter’s fuel tanks which resulted in a significant fuel leak. The fuel ignited shortly after the helicopter came to rest and an intense post-impact fire rapidly engulfed the fuselage.

Causal factors:

1. Seizure of the tail rotor duplex bearing initiated a sequence of failures in the tail rotor pitch control mechanism which culminated in the unrecoverable loss of control of the tail rotor blade pitch angle and the blades moving to their physical limit of travel.
2. The unopposed main rotor torque couple and negative tail rotor blade pitch angle resulted in an increasing rate of rotation of the helicopter in yaw, which induced pitch and roll deviations and made effective control of the helicopter’s flightpath impossible.
3. The tail rotor duplex bearing likely experienced a combination of dynamic axial and bending moment loads which generated internal contact pressures sufficient to result in lubrication breakdown and the balls sliding across the race surface. This caused premature, surface initiated rolling contact fatigue damage to accumulate until the bearing seized.

Contributory factors:

1. The load survey flight test results were not shared by the helicopter manufacturer with the bearing manufacturer in order to validate the original analysis of the theoretical load spectrum and assess the continued suitability of the bearing for this application, nor were they required to be by the regulatory requirements and guidance.
2. There were no design or test requirements in Certification Specification 29 which explicitly addressed rolling contact fatigue in bearings identified as critical parts; while the certification testing of the duplex bearing met the airworthiness authority’s acceptable means of compliance, it was not sufficiently representative of operational demands to identify the failure mode.
3. The manufacturer of the helicopter did not implement a routine inspection requirement for critical part bearings removed from service to review their condition against original design and certification assumptions, nor were they required to by the regulatory requirements and guidance.
4. Although the failure of the duplex bearing was classified as catastrophic in the certification failure analysis, the various failure sequences and possible risk reduction and mitigation measures within the wider tail rotor control system were not fully considered in the certification process; the regulatory guidance stated that this was not required.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIB
Report number: AAIB-25398
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 4 years and 10 months
Download report: Final report





G-VSKP on 13 July 2016 at Gloucestershire Airport (photo: James, CC:by-sa)


Revision history:

27-Oct-2018 20:23 MH363 Added
27-Oct-2018 20:25 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
27-Oct-2018 20:30 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Location, Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
27-Oct-2018 20:33 harro Updated [Time, Narrative]
27-Oct-2018 20:39 harro Updated [Operator]
27-Oct-2018 20:40 harro Updated [Narrative]
27-Oct-2018 20:42 harro Updated [Phase, Photo]
27-Oct-2018 20:44 harro Updated [Embed code]
27-Oct-2018 20:44 harro Updated [Embed code]
27-Oct-2018 22:00 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
27-Oct-2018 22:34 Iceman 29 Updated [Total occupants, Embed code]
28-Oct-2018 06:32 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
28-Oct-2018 07:40 GeoffR Updated [Narrative]
28-Oct-2018 07:43 harro Updated [Time, Total occupants]
28-Oct-2018 08:32 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Embed code]
28-Oct-2018 08:36 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
28-Oct-2018 08:40 Aerossurance Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
28-Oct-2018 11:01 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
28-Oct-2018 11:41 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
28-Oct-2018 11:59 ELTOTICO Updated [Total fatalities, Source]
28-Oct-2018 12:00 harro Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Source]
28-Oct-2018 14:43 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
28-Oct-2018 17:38 Aerossurance Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
28-Oct-2018 17:44 Aerossurance Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
28-Oct-2018 22:06 Aerossurance Updated [Total fatalities, Narrative]
28-Oct-2018 22:18 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
28-Oct-2018 22:34 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
28-Oct-2018 23:19 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
29-Oct-2018 00:27 JINX Updated [Narrative]
29-Oct-2018 12:07 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
29-Oct-2018 19:52 Iceman 29 Updated [Source, Embed code]
30-Oct-2018 08:32 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Source, Embed code]
30-Oct-2018 19:18 Aerossurance Updated [Source]
30-Oct-2018 19:47 Aerossurance Updated [Source]
31-Oct-2018 08:03 Aerossurance Updated [Embed code]
31-Oct-2018 13:50 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
31-Oct-2018 13:52 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
01-Nov-2018 20:29 Iceman 29 Updated [Source]
01-Nov-2018 20:34 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
14-Nov-2018 12:13 Aerossurance Updated [Source]
14-Nov-2018 12:16 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
16-Nov-2018 11:52 Aerossurance Updated [Embed code]
16-Nov-2018 22:17 Dr.John Smith Updated [Destination airport]
28-Oct-2021 17:24 Anon. Updated [Destination airport]
28-Oct-2021 17:26 harro Updated [Embed code]
28-Oct-2021 17:26 harro Updated [Embed code]
01-Nov-2021 16:22 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Departure airport, Embed code, Category]
01-Nov-2021 16:25 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Embed code]
29-Oct-2022 03:41 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
06-Sep-2023 05:32 harro Updated

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