New cross checks for chopper fleet

AN ARMIDALE helicopter training company will implement new cross checks after a crash which seriously damaged a chopper last year.

A Fleet Helicopter student pilot and instructor were aboard the Robinson R22 helicopter when they issued a mayday call before it slammed into a paddock near Armidale airport on September 13.

Emergency services rushed to the scene near the Dumaresq Dam Rd and found the two crew members had suffered minor injuries.

The helicopter was substantially damaged in the impact.

The Australian Transport and Safety Bureau (ATSB) launched an investigation and have publicly released their final report.

It found an error made by the student pilot, who had not flown for 18 months prior to the incident, had caused the engine to shut down.

The student inadvertently pulled the fuel mixture control instead of the carburettor heat control.

The helicopter company has advised the ATSB it has implemented new safety actions, including verbal confirmation before pulling the control and devising a procedure that does not allow a student to operate the carburettor heat until a certain number of flying hours and recency have been achieved. 

The helicopter manufacturer had issued a safety notice advising that similar cases have been reported where a pilot inadvertently pulled the mixture control instead of the carburettor heat control, resulting in sudden and complete engine stoppage. 

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