An Australian Army Black Hawk has reportedly been involved in a serious incident on Sydney Harbour – its main-rotor blades striking a ships mast.
FILE PHOTO (July 2019): Australian Army soldiers from 2nd Commando Regiment secure a Sydney ferry in Middle Harbour, New South Wales, during counter-terrorism training. Photo by Corporal Kyle Genner.
Details and footage from Channel 9 News say the main rotor of the helicopter hit a mast on a Captain Cook Cruises vessel that had apparently been chartered for the training exercise and there were no passengers on board.
The incident occurred during a planned counter-terrorism exercise – eyewitnesses saying two helicopters had been setting down and picking up soldiers from the Captain Cook Cruises vessel for several hours.
Witnesses told Channel 9 that they often heard chopper buzzing around the neighbourhood, but this one was very different.
One man said something very dramatic must have happen for it to land so quickly in a space where a lot of civilians were walking around.
A woman said she heard the engine getting closer and then very suddenly it landed very quickly.
Apparently another helicopter circled around about three times after the emergency landing, then it too landed, and soldiers and their dogs from the first helicopter transferred to the second and it took off again, quite quickly.
The damaged Black Hawk, tail number A25-203 and nicknamed Endeavour, was sporting clear and extensive damage to its main-rotor blade tips.
Army technicians were on the scene this afternoon assessing the damage, in an operation that could see the helicopter stranded in Watsons Bay at least overnight and possibly for days.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As a former aircraft fitter myself, I can say that all parts of the aircraft drive train will require inspection to look for stress/shock damage from such a heavy-looking hit. In fact, I’d be surprised if that aircraft flew again before its main rotor, rotor head, driveshafts, gearbox and probably engines are all replaced.