In the afternoon of October 17th 20202, a light helicopter belonging to the Karen Blixen Wildlife Trust went down a few seconds after take off.
On board was a VIP, Narok Governor Samuel Ole Tunai.
Investigations into what caused the crash has revealed that there was no mechanical problems prior to the accident. This is according to Transport CS James Macharia.
In a preliminary report on the crash, the CS said that the pilot reported that before the flight, he had made three flights that day each with two passengers on board.
The three flights on a Robinson R44 Raven II registration 5Y-MEP, operated by the Karen Blixen Camp Trust, were uneventful.
Tunai had attended a burial ceremony at Melili and after the function, the pilot planned to fly him to the south-eastern side of the Mau forest to inspect the extent of deforestation en-route to Olenkipejus village.
The pilot reported having aborted the plan due to unfavorable weather conditions at the destination.
He reported that whilst the helicopter was in a hover on a northerly heading (at approximately 15 meters above ground), with 15knots indicated airspeed, he got a low RPM warning and slightly lowered the collective control descending into a wheat field.
The 35-year old Kenyan pilot made a right yaw turn with the intention that the spot turn would stop at 180° (half a revolution) so that the helicopter could be stabilized in a hover facing the terrain of the Melili area before transitioning to forward flight over the wheat field.
“This subsequently developed into a continuous uncontrolled forward movement. The helicopter then impacted the terrain with a nose-down orientation on a southerly heading at approximately 100 m to the southwest of the lift-off position.”
The tail boom of the helicopter was severely fractured, locally twisted, and bent to the starboard near the damper bearing of the tail rotor drive shaft.
The three occupants in the helicopter were unhurt, both the pilot and the governor were taken for checkups in hospital and were released.
According to the report, the pilot was fit for the task and had gone for a medical examination on August 7, 2019, hence declared fit and issued with a class two certificate valid for 24 months.
“He held a Flight Radio Telephony Operator’s License number YK-9740-RL, issued by the KCAA on 16 August 2019 with a validity of up to 21 August 2021.”