Helicopter File Number BEA2020-0029 Accident, H-S privée Givry-en-Argonne, on 16 January 2020, ROBINSON - R44, F-GMAL

Accident to the Robinson - R44 registered F-GMAL on 16/01/2020 at Givry-en-Argonne (51)

Investigation progression Closed  
Progress: 100%


Note: The following information is principally based on the pilot’s statement. This information has not been independently validated by the BEA.

This is a courtesy translation by the BEA of the Final Report on the Safety Investigation published in April 2020. As accurate as the translation may be, the original text in French is the work of reference.


After the inspection of the helipad, during which no ice or frost was observed, the pilot conducted a pre-flight inspection. He checked the helipad windsock, which indicated zero wind. He then began the start-up for a local flight. During the start-up, the pilot perceived vibrations and that the aircraft started to yaw to the right on the ground. At the same time, he believed he perceived an engine overspeed. Before having time to reduce the rpm increase, the pilot lost control of the helicopter, which continued rotating and made two turns before rolling over onto its right side and coming to rest.


2.1 Pilot Information

The pilot, holder of a helicopter private pilot licence PPL (H) issued in July 2018, had logged 370 flight hours on R44s, including 8 hours within the last 30 days. His last flight before the occurrence was on 11 January 2020.

The pilot indicated that he had conducted a "complete and thorough" pre-flight inspection. He reported that he had his feet on the pedals throughout the start-up phase and that he tried to counter the helicopter's rotation to the right with the left pedal, but to no avail. He said he could not explain what happened.

2.2 Meteorological Information

The pilot had observed that the weather was cool and damp, and that the position of the windsock indicated zero wind. He specified that the ground was not at all slippery, but that it was damp from the morning dew.