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On 11 June 2017, at about 1130 Eastern Standard Time, the pilot of a Bell 206B helicopter, registered VH-ONE, conducted a forced landing about 39 km north-north-east of Sydney Airport, New South Wales. In addition to the pilot, there were four passengers on board.

At about 1107, the helicopter departed Sydney Airport for a planned 45 minute scenic (charter) flight to the north of Sydney. About 20 minutes after departing, as the helicopter tracked north, the weather deteriorated and the pilot elected to turn south, back towards Sydney. While tracking south at about 1,000 ft, the pilot noticed engine torque fluctuations and a yawing motion. The pilot identified a sports field out to his right, started a descending right turn towards the field and broadcast a MAYDAY call on the area frequency. The engine condition deteriorated during the approach and the pilot elected to shut down the engine after entering an autorotation flight profile.

After landing, the pilot checked the warning lights and confirmed there was no fire, pulled the circuit breaker for the warning horns that were operating and made a broadcast that they had landed safely. The pilot then checked on the welfare of the passengers and prevented one passenger from attempting to exit the helicopter with the rotors still turning. Once the rotors stopped turning, the pilot exited the helicopter and assisted the passengers.

The pilot commented that maintaining rotor speed was his number one priority. If he had attempted to troubleshoot the problem without entering an autorotation, he could have potentially lost rotor speed and compromised his ability to safely conduct the forced landing.

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General details
Date: 11 June 2017 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 11:30 EST  
Location   (show map):Des Creagh Reserve, Avalon Beach Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction 
Release date: 19 September 2017 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Co 
Aircraft model: 206B 
Aircraft registration: VH-ONE 
Serial number: 1240 
Type of operation: Charter 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Minor 
Departure point:Sydney, NSW
Destination:Sydney, NSW
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Last update 14 November 2018