Aviation occurrence briefs

Taxiing collision involving Agusta AW139, Townsville Airport, Qld, on 10 March 2018

Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.

What happened

On 10 March 2018, at about 1600 Eastern Standard Time (EST), an Agusta AW139 helicopter was ground-taxiing to its parking area when it struck a maintenance work stand with the main rotor blades. At the time of the impact, the helicopter was being positioned short of the refuelling area to allow another aircraft to utilise it.

The helicopter was travelling at a slow walking pace when the impact occurred. The impact was felt as a vibration through the rotor system and had no effect on the fuselage or forward movement. The crew conducted a normal shutdown.

Post-flight, engineers inspected numerous components of the helicopter. Damage was isolated to the tip cap assemblies of the main rotor blades (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Damage to main rotor blades

Figure 1: Damage to main rotor blades. Source: Owner

Source: Owner

Safety message

Even when operating in familiar environments, flight crew need to remain vigilant for potential hazards in the area and maintain a good look out to ensure distances from obstacles are maintained.

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.

General details
Date: 10 March 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1600 EST    
Location   (show map): Townsville Airport    
State: Queensland    
Release Date: 20 April 2018   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Agusta, S.p.A, Construzioni Aeronautiche  
Aircraft model AW139  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Last update 12 December 2018