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Gazelle Accident Database

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  • Gazelle Accident Database

    Gazelle Accident Summary 2014-15

    2 June 2014 - Boscombe Down, UK - XZ936 cn. WA1743 / Substantially damaged when fenestron was 'sliced off' from tailboom by main rotor following practice autorotation.

    19 September 2014 - St. Petersburg, Russia - RA1233G cn. 1020 / Destroyed after flying into the sea at speed while pilot was drunk. One fatality.

    6 July 2015 - Stapleford Aerodrome, UK, - YU-HET cn. 1204 / Substantially damaged when aircraft inadvertently became airborne during a post-maintenance 'ground' run.

    15 July 2015 - Abbeyshurle, Longford, Ireland - G-BXTH cn. WA1120 / Destroyed after hitting building while trying to execute landing in unreasonably confined area.

    XZ936 (cn WA1743) as seen after her autorotational 'landing' at Boscombe Down on 2nd June 2014

  • #2
    Date: 20th August 2011
    Operator: Tunisian Army
    Model: SA342L1
    Registration: L611

    The two crew members aboard this Tunisian Army Gazelle were killed when the aircraft went down near the Libyan border in southern Tunisia.

    The cause of the accident was cited as being a technical malfunction while unofficial reports cited poor weather as a factor.

    Tunisian Army SA342L1 L611 in which two military personnel were killed on 20th August 2011


    • #3
      Date: 10th January 2012
      Operator: Cropspray Ltd, UK
      Model: SA341G
      Registration: G-WDEV

      The pilot reported a loss of power followed by an uncontrolled descent into trees while manoeuvring at slow speed and low height over a remote landing site near Salisbury in Wiltshire in the UK.

      G-WDEV post crash

      Three people were onboard the aircraft at the time of the crash, all of whom sustained minor injuries

      AAIB Report


      • #4

        SA342J F-GJSL after crashing at Ockington Farm, Dymock, Gloucestershire on 8th May 2005

        This Gaz fell victim to the 'Tail Swing Bite' syndrome and ended-up hitting the corner of a house.

        You may read about this accident under item No. 2 in the Tail Swing Bite accident summary at the top of this page.

        Accident Date: 2nd May 2010
        Operator: Shuttle Air
        Model: SA341H
        Registration: YU-HEH
        C/N: 011

        Accident Report
        Accident Summary


        • #5
          Accident Date: 8th March 2011
          Operator: Honister Mine
          Model: SA341G
          Registration: HA-LFB
          C/N: 1074

          Accident Summary

          On the evening of 8th March 2011 at approximately 7 pm, a Gazelle helicopter (registration HA-LFB), crashed while attempting to depart from the Honister slate mine in Cumbria. Having lifted-off, the helicopter was flown at low level and slow speed within the valley immediately below it's point of take-off. In what appears to have been an attempt to negotiate a departure route in reduced visibility conditions, the helicopter's main rotor struck the side of the valley resulting in the destruction of the aircraft and the fatal injury of the pilot.

          The pilot’s ability to maintain a safe flight path may have been affected by diminished situational awareness or a loss of control, and there was evidence of poor lighting and weather conditions that might have contributed to these difficulties, especially if the helicopter had inadvertently entered cloud. In addition, canopy misting, distracting illumination of cloud by the landing light or strobes, turbulence, and windshear are factors that may be associated with the prevailing conditions but for which there was no direct evidence.

          The pilot’s difficulties may have been compounded by the helicopter’s handling characteristics at low speed, the degraded performance of the yaw damper and the possibility that the helicopter entered vortex ring. There was no evidence that the pilot had received training in night flight. His decision to depart in the prevailing weather conditions, and from a site with no cultural lighting, suggested either a lack of awareness of the inherent risk or an acceptance of the risk.

          The remains of HA-LFB at the crash site
          Accident Report


          • #6
            Accident Date: 16th January 1991
            Operator: Royal Navy
            Model: SA341C
            Registration: XW886
            C/N: WA1157

            Accident Summary

            On 16th January 1991 an SA341C Westland Gazelle belonging to No. 705 Naval Air Squadron at Culdrose crashed into a field in the Goonhilly Exercise area, near Predannack, Cornwall after the pilot lost yaw control during a semi-wing-over manoeuvre when avoiding another Gazelle. The pilot escaped from the wreckage but was seriously injured.

            Fleet Air Arm Westland Gazelle XW886 (cn WA1157) as seen in a field near the Traboe Cross-Ruan Minor road on 16th January 1991

            The pilot was was recovered by a Sea King helicopter and then sent to the AIU at Lee-on-Solent by road.

            The aircraft had been flown into an undefined area of the flight envelope known as the 'Fenestron Vortex'. The Fenestron, a shaft driven 13 blade fan, replaces the conventional tail rotor.

            This was the twelfth accident to a British Forces Gazelle attributed to this effect.
            Accident Summary


            • #7
              Aircraft Details: SA341G JA9164 cn.1022

              Location: Tokyo Heliport, Japan

              Date: 8th June 1988

              Operator: Toho Airlines

              Accident Summary:

              An SA341G JA9164 (cn.1022) operated by Toho Airlines, was departing Tokyo Heliport on a filming/news gathering flight on 8th June 1988 when the aircraft experienced a loss of power. The pilot made an emergency landing from which the aircraft suffered intermediate damage. Those on board sustained only minor injuries. There was no post-crash fire.


              • #8
                Aircraft Details: SA341F2 ZU-RLE cn.1022

                Date: 4th May 2018

                Location: Honeymoon Farm, Limpopo Province, South Africa

                Accident Summary:

                On 4th May 2018, an SA341F2 Gazelle, ZU-RLE (cn.1678) suffered an engine failure shortly after take-off from Honeymoon Farm in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The pilot executed an emergency landing during which the main rotor severed the tailboom. The two persons on board were not injured.

                ZU-RLE after her forced landing at Honeymoon Farm on 4th May 2018

                A subsequent investigation discovered that the aircraft's fuel supply was contaminated.

                Accident Report.


                • #9
                  Aircraft Details: SA341G YU-HMC cn.1136

                  Date: 14th July 2018

                  Location: Enfield, Greater London

                  Accident Summary:

                  While trying to reposition his helicopter from one part of his garden to another, the pilot perceived that the engine had lost power. He tried to return to the takeoff site but the helicopter came down about 20 metres short and rolled onto its side. The helicopter was destroyed by a post-crash fire. The cause of the reported loss of power could not be determined.


                  Although it was a hot day with calm wind, the helicopter was 276 kg below its maximum takeoff weight so it should have had sufficient performance for the taxiing manoeuvre the pilot undertook. It is possible that the airpath to the centrifugal compressor had accumulated deposits during operation which led to a lower compression rate and a higher temperature operation. This, combined with the hot outside air temperature, could have led to a T4 exceedance, turbine damage and a consequential loss of power, leading to the accident. However, it is also possible that the T4 exceedance occurred during the post-impact fire and that some deposits were ingested while the engine continued to run on the ground, with the helicopter on its side.

                  The remains of YU-HMC following its post-crash fire

                  Accident Report.