Gazelle HT Mk 2, G-GAZL
Two miles south of Sheffield City Airport, descending, there was a loud bang and a jolt. The pilot lowered the collective lever as a precaution for autorotation but temperatures, RPMs and pressures remained normal so he landed normally. The right engine cowling was missing and there were small marks on the main rotor blades. Two fractured portions of the missing cowling were later found and examined by the AAIB. Each cowling panel has two hinges at top and two lower latches. It appears that one of the top spigot fittings had failed with cracking from previous overloads and the aft lower latch had not been fully secure. Tests showed that this aft lower latch can appear latched when it is not actually engaged. Through DASC, a similar occurrence (2003) was found to a British Army Gazelle, with similar conclusions. Safety Recommendation to the UK CAA and to EASA were made concerning detailed visual inspection of the fittings.
Gazelle HT Mk 2, G-GAZL 8-05.pdf (181.34 kb)
Date of occurrence: 4 November 2004