Aviation safety investigations & reports

Aircraft Separation - Robinson R44 helicopter, VH-HYC and Piper PA-28-161 aircraft, 1.85 km north of Parramatta, NSW, 23 January 2012

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 23 January 2012, the pilot of a Robinson Helicopter Company R44 Raven II helicopter, registered VH-HYC (HYC), was conducting a routine gas pipeline inspection flight between Parramatta and Castle Hill, New South Wales.

When 1 NM (1.85 km) north of Parramatta, the pilot of HYC observed a Piper Aircraft Corporation PA-28-161, registered VH-TAK (TAK), tracking northbound from Bankstown, pass overhead, about 20 ft above. In response, the pilot of HYC immediately lowered the collective and commenced a descending right turn.

A review of Airservices Australia radar surveillance data indicated that the distance between HYC and TAK reduced to 0.2 NM (370 m) laterally, with both aircraft at the same altitude of 1,400 ft. The aircraft were operating in uncontrolled airspace and were not subject to air traffic control services.

This incident highlights the advantages of utilising two communication systems, if fitted, to enhance traffic awareness. It further emphasises the benefits of notifying the appropriate air traffic control authority if intending to conduct aerial work within a known area of high traffic levels, such as the Bankstown lane of entry.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 5.65MB]
General details
Date: 23 January 2012   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1001 EDT   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 1.85 km north Parramatta    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Near collision  
Release date: 25 June 2012   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model R44  
Aircraft registration VH-HYC  
Serial number 10101  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Rosehill Heliport, NSW  
Destination Rosehill Heliport, NSW  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-28  
Aircraft registration VH-TAK  
Serial number 2842276  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Bankstown, NSW  
Destination Unknown  
Last update 14 November 2018