Aviation safety investigations & reports

Propeller cuff failure involving Bombardier DHC-8, VH-ZZA, near Darwin, Northern Territory, on 3 December 2019

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


The ATSB is investigating a propeller malfunction involving Bombardier DHC-8-202, VH-ZZA, which was conducting aerial work near Darwin, Northern Territory on 3 December 2019.

During climb, a loud bang was heard and debris was witnessed flying past the aircraft window. All systems were operating normally and the crew elected to continue the flight, which was completed without further incident. Post-flight inspection discovered damage to the right side of the fuselage and the right propeller. A propeller blade cuff from the right propeller was also missing, which was determined to have separated in flight and resulted in the damage to the aircraft.

As part of the investigation, the ATSB will review the relevant maintenance information and examine previous instances of blade cuff failures on this aircraft type.

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

General details
Date: 03 December 2019   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 12:00 CST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Darwin Airport   Investigation phase: Final report: Internal review  
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Propeller/rotor malfunction  
  Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: None  
Anticipated completion: 3rd Quarter 2020    

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer de Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd  
Aircraft model DHC-8-202  
Aircraft registration VH-ZZA  
Serial number 419  
Operator Surveillance Australia  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Turboprop  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Departure point Darwin, Northern Territory  
Destination Darwin, Northern Territory  
Last update 19 June 2020