Helicopter carrying ten "fishtailed" before emergency landing near Withernsea
A HELICOPTER carrying eight passengers and two crew had to land on a coastal airfield near Withernsea after it started “fishtailing” in the air, a safety report has revealed.
The Bristow S-76 helicopter was flying from Humberside Airport to a gas platform in the North Sea when the incident happened.
A report out today by the Air Accident Investigation Branch reveals that the pilot made a “precautionary” landing near Withernsea after it began pitching up, rolling to the right and then “fishtailing” only a few minutes after taking off.
The crew could also smell smoke in the cockpit during the incident on September 26 last year.
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The report says: “There was a smell of smoke in the cockpit and cabin, together with an unusual and uncommanded flying motion. The commander decided to make a precautionary landing at a private coastal airfield less than two miles away. The eight passengers were briefed for the landing which was completed safely.
“After landing, some of the passengers reported that they too had smelt smoke in the cabin and been aware of the fishtailing motion.”
The AAIB said the problem was traced to an electrical short in the helicopter’s wiring which had tripped. A temporary repair was carried out where the helicopter landed at tiny Hollym airfield on the outskirts of Withernsea, allowing it to fly to a maintenance base where full repairs were carried out. The AAIB said the helicopter's American manufacturer Sikorksy was now studying ways to improve the wiring to avoid future problems.