A109 damaged in hard landing


The Department of Defence says a South African Air Force Agusta A109 light utility helicopter was involved in a hard landing incident during a scheduled military exercise involving the SA Army and the SA Air Force in Potchefstroom earlier today.

The crew of the helicopter and the passengers suffered no injuries, the DoD says in a media statement. The cost of the damage to the helicopter will be determined by a Board of Inquiry that will also investigate the cause of the accident.

The Italian-designed A109 has served the SAAF for just over five years. The first of 30 aircraft was delivered to the SAAF on October 19, 2005. The rotorcraft, acquired under Project Flange, cost R2.451 billion, according to Treasury figures. One, a 17 Squadron rotorcraft, was destroyed in an accident over the Woodstock Dam near Bergville in the Drakensberg last year May. Its three occupants – two pilots and a flight engineer – were killed on impact with the water.

The helicopter is operated by 17 Squadron, based at Swartkop airbase in Pretoria and 87 Helicopter Flying School at AFB Bloemspruit, Bloemfontein. It is not yet known to which of these the rotorcraft in question belongs.