The ATSB is investigating a tail rotor blade strike involving Leonardo Helicopters AW139 VH-TJK, in the vicinity of Shelly Beach, about 19 km north east of Sydney Airport, New South Wales, on 30 May 2021.
While conducting a single-pilot EMS flight, the aircraft was flown into a confined area and unimproved landing site with the aid of night vision goggles. During the later stages of the approach, the aircraft drifted towards terrain. The crew aborted the approach and elected to conduct a precautionary out-landing about 1 km away. Inspection of the aircraft’s vertical fin and tail rotor blades revealed the aircraft had contacted tree foliage while manoeuvring in the confined area.
As part of the investigation, the ATSB will be gathering information from a range of sources for analysis. Investigation activities will include interviewing the crew of the helicopter, analysing flight data, and reviewing procedures and manuals.
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.