The Pilot of a Bell 206 JetRanger in Australia has been called a hero after the helicopter engine began surging during a joy flight over the Norther Beaches of Sydney Australia.
What began as one of dozens of tourist joy flights operated by Heli Experiences each day around the coastal waters of Botany Bay and the famous Northern Beaches around Sydney, Australia, turned into a flight that would test the skills of a seasoned pilot as the Bell 206B he was flying with three passengers aboard suffered an engine surge, forcing the pilot to enter an autorotation and land the helicopter in a small nature reserve (local parkland) in the coastal Sydney suburb of Avalon with little room to spare.
The pilot made a mayday call as he began descending to land that was heard by a local news helicopter pilot who immediately began to scan the area and mistakenly thought that the helicopter had made a water ditching as he saw bubbles in the water as he approached the area. The bubbles he saw later identified as being made by a whale swimming nearby. The pilot stated that shortly after seeing the bubbles, he was relieved to hear the pilot key up that he had successfully set down the helicopter in nearby Des Creagh Reserve which was captured by 9News shortly after.
The passengers on board the helicopter, an Australian man and two friends visiting from overseas were unhurt during the emergency landing, with passenger Nino DiCuollo stating in footage filmed by Channel 9 Sydney at the scene that the trio “owed their lives to the pilot” as he went on to explain that the pilot had told them to brace before impact, but brought the helicopter down with a thud safely.
The Experiences Group, parent company of Heli Experiences and AusJet that operate dozens of fixed wing and rotary aircraft in multiple states around Australia, confirmed in a statement released to the media that one of its aircraft had been involved in a “precautionary forced landing”. The company has been in operation for more than ten years in Australia and has grown from a company with just a few Robinson R44 helicopters in a single state to a company that now has multiple aircraft in several states and dominates a significant portion of the helicopter tourism market in two states.
Heliweb Magazine reached out to Heli Experiences and was able to confirm that the pilot involved in Monday’s incident was a high time pilot that has previously served as a pilot for a global helicopter operator and has a significant amount of experience.
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Ryan Mason is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of Heliweb Magazine. Ryan has worked in aviation media for the last nine years as a photographer and journalist, providing written and photographic content for multiple international aviation publications covering both fixed wing and helicopters. Ryan has also written for law enforcement publications on tactics, equipment and airborne law enforcement, drawing on his years of experience as a police officer in the Midwest United States. You can reach Ryan at email@example.com