Helicopter 'scattered debris over a wide area' after crash before planned Donegal flight

The helicopter's rotor made contact with the ground.
The helicopter's rotor made contact with the ground.

A helicopter pilot escaped injury when his Eurocopter 'Hummingbird' crashed on its side ahead of an abortive flight to Donegal during the summer, according to a new safety bulletin.

The aircraft sustained damage to its rotor blades, head, tailboom, horizontal stabliser, fenestron and skid gear when it crashed upon take off in Fermanagh on June 25.

The helicopter crashed on its side before a proposed flight to Donegal and debris was scattered over a wide area, according to a report published by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) this morning.

"The pilot had planned a flight from Enniskillen, St Angelo Airport, to a private site at Frosses in Donegal, Ireland," the bulletin states.

"The helicopter was parked on the apron adjacent to the fuel installation where it had just been refuelled to full tanks. Having completed all the pre-start checks from the checklist and carried out a normal start, the pilot performed the pre-takeoff checks and raised the collective pitch lever. He led with right yaw pedal but, as the helicopter became light on the skids, it started to yaw to the left.

"Due to the close proximity of the fuel storage tanks, he applied left cyclic control to move the helicopter to the left away from them, but the helicopter continued to yaw to the left. After yawing through 360°, the helicopter lost height with the left skid contacting the apron," it adds.

The aircraft crashed but the pilot managed to shut off the fuel and escape the helicopter without suffering any injuries.

"The helicopter rolled about the left skid and the main rotor contacted the ground and debris was scattered over a wide area. The helicopter continued to yaw through another 90° about the tail before rolling onto its right side.

"The pilot shut off the fuel before applying the rotor brake and was able to leave the helicopter unassisted through the left door. The airport Rescue and Fire Fighting Service attended the scene immediately and applied a foam blanket to the wreckage," the AAIB report states.