Robinson R44 Raven, G-LWAY
The pilot was flying to a private site adjacent to a sea loch. During the approach, at a height of about 50 ft, he focused his attention on an object in the water. This distracted him and the helicopter struck the surface of the water at an airspeed of about 60 kt, approximately 100 m from the shore. The helicopter tumbled forwards, coming to rest inverted with the cockpit submerged and sinking. Although the accident happened in daylight, the pilot was unable to see underwater due to the combination of salt water and fuel. He was disorientated and had difficulty locating the release on his three point harness. The pilot was unsure how long he was in the helicopter and believed that he may have exited through the left door; on the opposite side from his seat. When he reached the surface the last part of the aircraft was just disappearing. He was uninjured and able to swim ashore. The pilot commented that he had had to concentrate hard during his 25 minute flight and that he had relaxed once his destination was in sight. He believed this may have made him more susceptible to the distraction.
Robinson R44 Raven, G-LWAY 09-10.pdf (247.25 kb)