Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain involving Cicare CH7b helicopter, VH-JEW, near Roy Hill Station, WA, on 28 July 2015

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress


On 28 July 2015 a Cicaré CH-7Bt, registered VH-JEW, collided with terrain near Roy Hill Station in Western Australia. The pilot and sole occupant was fatally injured as a result of the accident.

The ATSB examined the helicopter wreckage and identified that the stabiliser had separated in-flight from the tail boom as a result of fatigue cracking of the stabiliser mount (Figure 1).

This was the second fatal accident involving in-flight stabiliser separation on Cicaré CH-7B series helicopters (AO-2014-086). The ATSB has notified the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and is working with the helicopter manufacturer on this issue.

On 6 August 2015 an information letter was emailed to registered Cicaré CH-7B owners, informing them of the second accident, the mechanism of stabiliser failure and a recommendation to ensure the integrity of the stabiliser prior to further operation and on an ongoing basis. The content of the letter is available on the ATSB website.

The investigation is continuing and will seek to identify the factors contributing to the stabiliser support cracking.

Figure 1: The tail section from VH-JEW showing the stabiliser mount fracture Fractured Stabaliser Mount VH-JEW

Source: ATSB


The information contained in this web update is released in accordance with section 25 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and is derived from the initial investigation of the occurrence. Readers are cautioned that new evidence will become available as the investigation progresses that will enhance the ATSB's understanding of the accident as outlined in this web update. As such, no analysis or findings are included in this update.

General details
Date: 28 July 2015   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 15:50 WST   Investigation level: Complex - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 16 km NW Roy Hill Station   Investigation phase: Examination and analysis  
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
  Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: Fatal  
Anticipated completion: 2nd Quarter 2019    

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Amateur Built Aircraft  
Aircraft model CICARE CH-7Bt  
Aircraft registration VH-JEW  
Serial number 032  
Type of operation Unknown  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Indee Station, WA  
Destination Roy Hill Station, WA  
Last update 19 December 2018