Aviation safety investigations & reports

Tail rotor blade strike involving Leonardo Helicopters AW139, VH-TJK, 19 km north east of Sydney Airport, New South Wales, 30 May 2021

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress


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.

General details
Date: 30 May 2021   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 0001 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Shelly Beach   Investigation phase: Examination and analysis  
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT)  
  Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: None  
Anticipated completion: 4th Quarter 2022    

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Leonardo Helicopters  
Aircraft model AW139  
Aircraft registration VH-TJK  
Serial number 31729  
Operator Helicorp Pty.Ltd.  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Departure point Bankstown  
Destination Bankstown  
Last update 16 August 2022