Final report on fatal helicopter crash, Glenbervie Forest Northland, Oct 2016
AO-2016-007 Collision with terrain Robinson R44, ZK-HTH, Glenbervie Forest, Northland, 31 October 2016
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has published its Final Report on the fatal crash of a Robinson R44
helicopter into Glenbervie Forest near Whāngārei in October 2016.
The two occupants – the pilot and a forestry contractor – died in the crash, and the helicopter was consumed by fire.
Captain Tim Burfoot, the Chief Investigator of Accidents, says the helicopter had been conducting survey work and had
just crossed a ridge when it crashed into dense bush.
“Damage to the helicopter in the accident sequence and subsequent fire, and the lack of other incontrovertible evidence,
means the Commission could not determine the cause or causes,” said Capt. Burfoot.
“The Commission has previously recommended that flight data recorders be fitted to certain classes of helicopter to aid
accident investigation; if one had been fitted to this helicopter, it would very likely have helped to identify the
cause or causes of this accident.”
The helicopter did not break up before entering the trees, and although there were indications of mast bumping this was
likely due to the dynamics of the helicopter entering the bush with its main rotors still turning
An extension had been fitted to the cyclic control (controls helicopter direction) that could have enabled the passenger
to control the cyclic stick. It was not possible to determine why the extension was installed, nor if it was being used
at the time of the accident or at any time during the flight.
Another consideration was that a bolt that was a part of the main rotor assembly was missing. It is virtually certain to
have come out of position during the impact sequence, meaning it did not contribute to the accident.
Still more possibilities rejected and described in the report include defects affecting engine, power, or fuel systems;
a medical event affecting the pilot or contractor; and bird strike.
Capt. Burfoot said the Commission had made no new recommendation beyond the existing recommendation for flight data
- The full report is downloadable here https://taic.org.nz/inquiry/ao-2016-007
(NB: it’s the Final Report you want to click on; the Interim Report was the short one we issued in December 2016):