Fatal Biplane/Helicopter Mid Air Collision in Spain, 30 December 2017
On 30 December 2017 a collision occurred at Mutxamel (Alicante) aerodrome involving Bell 412SP helicopter EC-MMC and CASA 1131 Bucker Bü 131 Jungmann biplane N1950M.
The Spanish accident investigation agency, the CIAIAC, explain in their safety investigation report that:
The helicopter, operated by Babcock, was returning to the aerodrome after taking part in firefighting activities, while the biplane was on a private flight in the vicinity of the airport.
According to the helicopter pilot he made position reports on the aerodrome frequency on several occasions and notified that he was on final approach to runway 30 at the uncontrolled airfield without having received any communication from any other aircraft.
During the final approach, the rear of the helicopter was impacted, causing it to lose its tail rotor.
As a result, the helicopter destabilized, although the crew managed to make an emergency landing in a level attitude and a clockwise yaw motion [from c 10m].
The biplane lost its right wings upon impacting the helicopter, as a result of which the pilot lost control of the aircraft, which crashed into the ground in an inverted position.
The [biplane] pilot died after the accident as a result of the injuries sustained.
The crew of the helicopter made an emergency landing and of its ten occupants, two were slightly injured. The rest were uninjured.
According to the CIAIAC:
The most likely cause of the accident was the failure of the pilot of the Bücker to detect the helicopter while on final approach to runway 30 at the Mutxamel aerodrome. The biplane was further back and in a higher position in the approach to land on the same runway.
The investigators say the following factors contributed to the accident:
- The non-use of communications by the pilot of the Bücker;
- The failure by the pilot of the Bücker to fly the aerodrome pattern and flying acrobatic manoeuvres in the pattern
Other Mid Air Collision (MAC) Safety Resources
Aerossurance has previously published:
- Military Mid Air Collisions
- Military Airprox in Sweden
- North Sea S-92A Helicopter Airprox Feb 2017
- Mid Air Collision Typhoon & Learjet 35
- French TV Helicopter Accident in Argentina
- USMC CH-53E Readiness Crisis and Mid Air Collision Catastrophe
- Avoiding Mid Air Collisions: 5 Seconds to Impact
- AAIB Highlight Electronic Conspicuity and the Limitations of See and Avoid after Mid Air Collision a UK accident where a light single fixed wing aircraft descended into a helicopter.
- UPDATE 2 February 2019: A319 / Cougar Airprox at MRS: ATC Busy, Failed Transponder and Helicopter Filtered From Radar
- UPDATE 16 February 2019: Merlin Night Airprox: Systemic Issues
- UPDATE 12 May 2019: Alaskan Mid Air Collision at Non-Tower Controlled Airfield
- UPDATE 14 August 2021: Alpine MAC ANSV Report: Ascending AS350B3 and Descending Jodel D.140E Collided Over Glacier
- UPDATE 18 June 2022: Limitations of See and Avoid: Four Die in HEMS Helicopter / PA-28 Mid Air Collision
- UPDATE 25 January 2019: Airbus Helicopters AS350B3 I-EDIC engaged in heli-skiing and Jodel D.140E Mousquetaire IV F-PMGV collided in mid air over the Rutor Glacier in Italy. Eight of the nine persons on board the two aircraft died.
- UPDATE 2 May 2019: TSB Canada report on a Piper PA-42 Cheyenne III and a Cessna 150.
- UPDATE 20 May 2019: US Army C-27/USAF C-130 Night MAC 1 December 2014: The Investigation attributed the collision to a lack of visual scan by both crews, over reliance on TCAS and complacency despite the inherent risk associated with night, low-level, VFR operations using Night Vision Goggles.
- UPDATE 16 December 2019: Airprox Board article on electronic conspicuity.
Aerossurance has extensive air safety, operations, airworthiness, human factors, aviation regulation and safety analysis experience. For practical aviation advice you can trust, contact us at: email@example.com
Follow us on LinkedIn and on Twitter @Aerossurance for our latest updates.