Aviation safety investigations & reports

Loss of control involving Agusta AW139, VH-YHF, 39 km ENE Darwin Airport, Northern Territory, on 13 May 2018

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress
Phase: Final report: Internal review Read more information on this investigation phase


The ATSB is investigating a loss of control involving an Agusta AW139, registered VH-YHF, 39 km ENE from Darwin Airport, Northern Territory, on 13 May 2018.

During search and rescue operations, the helicopter crew commenced a manual deceleration from 800 ft to locate an emergency beacon.  The auto hover switch was engaged at about 600 ft. The crew subsequently detected a nose high attitude and an increasing rate of descent with reducing airspeed. The pilot applied power and forward cyclic, arresting the rate of descent at about 90 ft.

As part of the investigation the ATSB will interview the crew and gather additional information.

A final report will be released at the conclusion of the investigation. Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate safety action can be taken.

General details
Date: 13 May 2018   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 21:00 CST   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 39 km ENE Darwin Airport   Investigation phase: Final report: Internal review  
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Loss of control  
  Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: None  
Anticipated completion: 1st Quarter 2020    

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Agusta, S.p.A, Construzioni Aeronautiche  
Aircraft model AW139  
Aircraft registration VH-YHF  
Serial number 31108  
Operator Careflight  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Darwin, NT  
Destination Darwin, NT  
Last update 17 September 2019