AAIB investigation to Boeing 747-8R7F, LX-VCF

Escape of fuel from helicopter being transported as cargo, en route from Houston to Prestwick, 30 March 2017.


Following an uneventful scheduled cargo flight, it became apparent after landing that a large quantity of fuel had leaked from a Bell 412EP helicopter which was being shipped as cargo on the main deck of the freighter aircraft. The escaped fuel then made its way through the lower deck and spilled onto the airport apron. Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting Services (RFFS) attended the aircraft to contain the fuel spill and manage the associated risk of fire and explosion.

The investigation determined that the helicopter, which was disassembled and prepared for transportation some months prior to the incident, had not been shipped in accordance with the required provisions for transportation of such vehicles by air. In particular, the helicopter had not been drained of fuel prior to transportation. Approximately 322 litres of fuel escaped from the helicopter during the flight.

One Safety Recommendation is made concerning procedures for the preparation of helicopters for air transportation.

Bulletin Corrections

Following publication of the report the two corrections were made. The online version of the report was amended on 15 August 2018.

Download further information regarding the Bulletin corrections

Correction - Boeing_747-8R7F_LX-VCF_07-18

Download amended report:

Boeing 747-8R7F, LX-VCF 07-18

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Glossary of abbreviations

Published 12 July 2018