The accident was notified to AAIU of the Department of Public Enterprise by the duty Watch Manager, Dublin ATC. The accident investigation was carried out under S.I. No. 205 of 1997, Air Navigation (Notification and Investigation of Accident and Incidents) Regulations, 1997. Under the provisions of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13, Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, the USA, as the State of Manufacturer, was invited to participate in the investigation. Mr Ron Price, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was the accredited representative. Mr Richard Sanford, the UK representative of the Robinson Helicopter Company, supplied additional technical information.
The pilot was availing of a partially free flight offered by the Operator on the successful completion of his Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL) – (Rotorcraft) in June 1999. He had undergone his R22 flight training with the Operator, who presented the pilot with his completed Flight Exercise Report at the end of his course. He planned to fly from Weston Aerodrome, Co. Kildare to Sligo Airport. While overflying Co. Longford, between the villages of Moyne and Ballinamuck, several eyewitnesses subsequently stated that they saw the helicopter at a relatively low altitude, 200-300 feet, with pieces falling from it. Almost immediately after the last reported sighting the helicopter crashed into the middle of an open field. The aircraft was destroyed. There was post-impact fire. There were no survivors.