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R44 at Woolongong

Woolongong [Panorama Wedding Centre] LTE:

2013 LTE Woolongong B

The Australian:

CSIRO mourns four retired scientists killed in chopper crash

  • From: AAP
  • March 25, 2013 5:44PM
Bulli Tops helicopter crash

The four people killed in this helicopter crash south of Sydney were all retired CSIRO scientists. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: The Daily Telegraph

THE head of Australia’s national science research agency has paid tribute to four of its retired scientists killed in a fiery helicopter crash south of Sydney.

CSIRO chief executive Megan Clark told staff in an email today the four men were on the Robinson R44 helicopter that burst into flames when it crashed at Bulli Tops last Thursday.

They left Sydney’s Bankstown Airport and were attempting to land on a grassy area next to the popular restaurant and function venue Panorama House.

It appeared the aircraft clipped a tree moments before it crashed on its side and burst into flames.

Restaurant staff rushed to battle the flames with fire extinguishers, but were repelled by extreme heat.

All four men died at the scene.

They were Dr Anthony Farmer, 68, of North Epping, Dr Donald Price, 67, of Lindfield, Dr Gerald Haddad, 71, of Elanora Heights and Dr John Dunlop, 66, of Davidson.

“Tony, Gerry, Don and John were much loved and respected colleagues and friends, and I express my deepest sympathy to their families,” Ms Clark said in the email to staff.

“There will no doubt be many feeling this loss. Please look out for each other especially at this time.”

The men’s CSIRO careers spanned between 25 and 37 years and all of them had retired from the organisation from 2007.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) says the aircraft was fitted with older-style fuel tanks known to pose a fire hazard.

“The ATSB has highlighted how all-aluminium fuel tanks have proven susceptible to post-accident fuel leaks, increasing the risk of a potentially fatal post-impact fire when colliding with the ground,” it says on its website.

The manufacturer and the ATSB have previously recommended the fuel tanks on R44s be replaced with safer bladder-type tanks.

The call came after two fatal R44 crashes in NSW.

In each case, the American-built helicopters caught on fire, killing all occupants.

The manufacturer’s figures showed 4000 R44s were built with the all-aluminium tanks, but only 1700 retrofit kits had gone out so far, the ATSB said.

A service bulletin issued by the manufacturer in 2010 told operators the retro-fitting needed to be carried out “as soon as practical, but no later than 30 April 2013”.



Comments on pprune:

Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Victoria, Australia
Age: 64
Posts: 1,636
Send a message via Skype™ to John Eacott
Unhappy Wollongong fatal crash March 2013

Sydney Morning Herald

Four people have been killed in a helicopter crash at Bulli Tops in Wollongong’s northern suburbs.
Police, paramedics and firefighters are heading to Panorama House where the helicopter crashed just after midday.
A NSW Ambulance spokesman would only say there were “multiple” fatalities, however Fairfax Media understands four people have died.
Panorama House is a function centre set on a cliff overlooking the Illawarra, and is a popular wedding location.The chopper that crashed is believed to have been carrying a wedding party. One of those killed is believed to be a child.
The helicopter burst into flames when it crashed into a grassed clearing outside Panorama House, police said.
There are no survivors.
A crime scene has been set up at Panorama House and police have launched an investigation into the incident.
The Robinson R44 helicopter is registered to Bankstown Helicopters.
A spokeswoman at the company’s headquarters said no one was immediately available for comment.
Bulli man Norm Upton was driving home from Sydney when he saw the helicopter engulfed in flames.He told the Illawarra Mercury he was travelling south along Mount Ousley and saw the helicopter on its side.

‘‘I was about 200 yards away and I saw people running around,’’ he said.

‘‘It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to see on my way back.’’
Police said a report would be prepared for the coroner.

John Eacott is offline Report Post Reply


Old 23rd Mar 2013, 10:10   #21 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2010
Location: More than 300km from SY, Australia
Posts: 347

I have been reading, since mid-2012 of issues with R22’s and ’44’s after looking at the John Quadrio incident and reading all the AD’s, SB’s and accident reports.LTEThe most common issue is LTE, yet there is no discussion of that here at all.SITE

If you have had a look at the topograghy of the site, there is a 1000FT rise from sea level over a 2 NM distance, which causes severe updraughts at times, or where the wind is from the west, severe turbulaence. [I was “dumped” due to downdrafts on late final on RWY 08 some years ago] so am well aware of the fickle weather conditions in the area.

From the Panorama literature:

Boasting absolutely breathtaking views of the picture-perfect Illawarra coastline, Panorama House is perched high on top of the Illawarra Escarpment, 400 metres above sea level.

Question is: Was this another LTE incident, with the fuel tanks a secondary issue??

Last edited by Up-into-the-air; 23rd Mar 2013 at 11:23. Reason: more stuff