ATSB driveshaft warning for ‘Huey’ helicopters after fatal Tasmanian crash

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has warned helicopter operators to inspect their plane’s drive shaft after a fatal crash in Launceston earlier this year.

The ATSB advised operators of the UH-1H — also known as the Huey — to inspect the helicopter’s drive shaft.

The advice comes from the ongoing investigation into a fatal accident involving a Huey near Launceston on February 14 this year.

A 41-year-old pilot was the only person on board when he crashed into a paddock while fighting a forest fire north of Lebrina.

The man died on the spot.

The ATSB noted, “Witnesses both on the ground and in a nearby helicopter saw the early discharge of the water charge from the bucket below before the UH-1H started a left turn and descended into the nearby open area.

The ongoing investigation of the wreckage determined that the helicopter’s main drive shaft had failed, and there was evidence of severe friction and wear damage to part of the shaft.

The investigation continues.

Authorities said the operator of the UH-1H helicopter was an experienced pilot who had assisted as a subcontractor in water bombing operations.Supplied: ATSB / Jamie Davis