AAIB investigation to Enstrom 480, G-IGHH

Wire strike, Aldbury, Hertfordshire, 9 September 2015.


The pilot was planning to take off from a private site. Having lifted vertically to about 30 ft agl, to clear a barn that was directly in front, the helicopter was flown forward followed by a right turn. The pilot then descended the helicopter slightly to accelerate. At this point he saw, about 80 m ahead, some power cables which had become visible against the sky as the helicopter descended. The pilot attempted to turn right and climb over the cables but the helicopter’s left skid caught the cables, causing the helicopter to roll upright and nose down before the cable snapped.

The pilot managed to regain some control but because the helicopter was still attached to the cable he attempted an emergency landing. As the helicopter landed, its skids dug into the recently ploughed field and it rolled inverted. The pilot vacated the helicopter without assistance having suffered minor injuries.

The pilot commented that he misjudged where the cables crossed the field and lost sight of them against the ploughed field. The low sun may also have been a factor.

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Enstrom 480, G-IGHH 01-16

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Glossary of abbreviations

Published 14 January 2016