Army helicopter safely jettisons unstable load
23 May 2013
An Australian Army Chinook helicopter safely jettisoned an under-slung load when the load became unstable during a routine training exercise at the High Range Training Area near Townsville on Monday, 20 May 2013.
The aircrew applied standard safety procedures when they detached the under-slung load, an M777 artillery gun, when it became unstable.
The jettison caused the M777 to fall approximately 40 feet to the ground below, which the aircrew had determined was clear before detaching the load.
There were no injuries to Army personnel or damage to the aircraft as a result of the incident.
Commanding Officer, 5th Aviation Regiment Lieutenant Colonel David Hafner, CSC said the actions of the aircrew reflected a high degree of skill, composure and professionalism.
“The crew applied their training and standard procedures to respond quickly and safely to the change in centre of gravity of the load when it became unstable," Lieutenant Colonel Hafner said.
“Their actions prevented what could have been a more serious incident.”
The Chinook is a medium load helicopter capable of under-slinging significant loads and is frequently used to transport stores and equipment. If an under-slung load becomes unstable it may unbalance the aircraft, endangering the safety of the aircraft and crew. Safe practice under these circumstances is to jettison the load.
The reason for the load becoming unstable is currently being investigated. The Army’s Chinook fleet remains in active service.
The routine training exercise involving live firing tanks, aircraft and infantry continues.
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999