Two brothers, two separate helicopters both interesting investigations

A very interesting story coming out of New Zealand.

Matt Wallis died during a solo flight on July 21 when his Robinson R44 helicopter crashed into Lake Wanaka on New Zealand’s South Island. A few months later, his brother Nick Wallis and two passengers, Paul Hondelink and Scott Theobald, were killed when their Hughes 369D crashed shortly after takeoff from the Wanaka Airport. The New Zealand’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) published interim reports for both accidents on Dec. 20. According to chief commissioner Jane Meares.

The R-44 experience Mast Bumping “There is also evidence that a main rotor blade has struck and entered the cabin in flight. There are score marks on the blade that match screws on the canopy bow; there is scoured paint on the screws. The same rotor blade has marks matching damage to the flight instruments panel,” Meares added.

While Nick Wallis’ accident is being blamed for clothing going out of the cockpit, getting into the tail rotor.

"There is evidence that a pair of over-trousers that had been packed in the cabin came out of the helicopter and became entangled in the tail rotor,” Meares stated in a separate press release. “Paint marks on the over-trousers matched the color and profile of the tail rotor blades, and marks on a tail rotor blade match a zip and dome connector on the over-trousers.”

The interim reports issued on Dec. 20 include no further findings. Investigations into both accidents are continuing, and information contained the final reports may differ from that in the interim reports, the TAIC stated.


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