Aviation AO-2017-004

The helicopter being lifted out of the harbour
The helicopter being lifted out of the harbour
BK117 Helicopter, forced landing into Porirua Harbour (Pauatahanui) 2 May 2017
Status: Current
Occurrence Date: 
2 May 2017
A helicopter was carrying a power pole across Pāuatahanui Inlet. It began spinning and descended into waist-deep water. The pilot was the only person on board and escaped uninjured.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission’s Interim Report on this incident formalises a process that occurred in December 2017. The Commission wrote to Civil Aviation Authority concerning matters that TAIC had discovered during the Evidence Gathering phase of its AO-2017-004 Inquiry.

While researching the maintenance history of the accident helicopter, the Commission found apparent significant anomalies with the maintenance and engineering practices applied to the accident helicopter. The Commission would have issued an Urgent Recommendation; however, the CAA immediately concurred with the Commission’s assessment that if similar maintenance and engineering practices were carried out on other aircraft previously associated with the same operator, then those aircraft could be at risk, with their owners and operators unaware of that risk.

The Civil Aviation Authority issued a Continuing Airworthiness Notice which:
- Told operators about concerns raised during the TAIC investigation
- Required operators to make a detailed aircraft record inspection and physically verify the life / safety critical parts (particularly for helicopters)
- Required reporting back to CAA
- Advised all that CAA could issue an Airworthiness Directive, so early compliance would avoid additional work.
Pauatahanui, Porirua Harbour (-41.0855,174.8863) [may be approximate]