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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 225308
Last updated: 28 August 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic B06 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 206B JetRanger III
Owner/operator:Jayrow Helicopters Pty Ltd
Registration: VH-FHW
MSN: 2838
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Kakadu National Park, NT -   Australia
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: ATSB
On 21 May 2019, while engaged in a planned cull of feral animals in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, a crew of three were using a Bell 206B3 JetRanger helicopter for aerial platform shooting. While the helicopter was operating at about 50 ft above the ground, the engine decelerated to idle, resulting in an immediate loss of power, and subsequent collision with terrain. The three occupants (pilot, shooter and spotter) were seriously injured.

The ATSB found that the engine power loss was due to a leak created by a loose union on an engine reference air line. During maintenance 4 days prior to install a power turbine governor (PTG), the union, which was downstream of the work completed, had not been checked for tightness. Potentially associated with distractions in the hangar at the time, an independent inspection following installation of the PTG was probably not conducted, and document verification processes did not detect that the independent inspection had not been recorded.
The cabin was not well prepared for the subsequent collision with terrain, with a range of factors exacerbating the occupants’ injuries or increasing risk. For example, the Director of National Parks required shooters and spotters to wear helmets, but helmets were not provided or used on a routine basis. Safety issues were also identified with the ambiguous wording of the instrument permitting harness use (issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority), and renewal of aerial platform shooting approvals without recurrent emergency training.
Additionally, the ATSB found that the Director of National Parks did not actively manage the risk of the aerial culling task, or effectively supervise the operation. As a result, an increase in the number of crew, a change in helicopter type and change of helicopter operator all progressed without requisite risk management. This exposed crew to avoidable harm during low-level aerial shooting operations.


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: ATSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 9 months
Download report: Final report


Photo of VH-FHW courtesy

Cambridge (YCBG)
4 November 1995; (c) Marcel Colthoff (via Joop de Groot)

Photo: ATSB

Revision history:

21-May-2019 05:37 gerard57 Added
21-May-2019 06:59 RobertMB Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Location, Source]
22-May-2019 17:57 Kardz Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Phase, Nature, Source, Narrative]
22-May-2019 20:43 RobertMB Updated [Aircraft type]
22-May-2019 20:43 RobertMB Updated [Source]
23-May-2019 05:58 Aerossurance Updated [Nature, Narrative]
23-May-2019 05:58 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]

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