The pilot, accompanied by 3 passengers departed from the Base4 helipad at Cape Town International
Aerodrome for a local pleasure flight of the Cape Peninsula.
After being airborne for approximately 40 minutes they returned for a full stop landing. An aviation enthusiast that was standing nearby filmed the approach and intended landing.
The video footage was made available to the investigating team and revealed that the aircraft was established in hover flight approximately 6 feet above the ground overhead
The pilot descended gradually with the right skid touching first. As the skid touched the
aircraft was observed to pitch/tilt forward suddenly with the lower nose fuselage making contact with the ground.
The pilot reacted almost immediately by applying backpressure on the cyclic stick, which caused
the aircraft to fall back onto its skids, with the tail rotor guard nearly impacting the ground.
It then pitched forward again with the pilot applying power, he took-off, flew a circuit and executed an uneventful landing.
Nobody was injured in the incident.
Following an interview with the passenger that was occupying the left front seat, he mentioned that he was re-adjusting his seatbelt shortly before touchdown and accidentally touched the cyclic control column that emerges from the floor centre console with his right knee, which caused the pilot to take immediate corrective action.
The last MPI (Mandatory Periodic Inspection) prior to the accident was certified on 4 March 2005, at 602.3 airframe hours.
Since the MPI was certified a further 83.6 hours were flown.
Probable Cause :
The passenger that was occupying the left front seat right knee touched the cyclic control column on touched down, pushing it forward, which caused the aircraft to pitch/tilt forward violently.
The pilot took immediate corrective action by pulling back on the cyclic control stick, which caused the aircraft to fall back onto its skids. The pilot applied power flew a circuit, followed by an uneventful landing.
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