Helicopter's near-miss with skydivers revealed

Helicopter's near miss with skydivers revealed.
A helicopter's near-miss with skydivers has been revealed. Photo credit: file

A report released by the Civil Aviation Authority has confirmed a helicopter nearly had a run-in with skydivers after not getting clearance from a private aerodrome to refuel.

According to NZME, two helicopters requested a refuel at the Franz Josef Aerodrome but did not seek confirmation from a privately-owned aerodrome that it was okay to be in the area.

Had they spoke with the private aerodrome, they would have been told to not enter the area due to skydivers.

After refuelling, NZME reports one of the helicopters did a small orbit of the area, waiting for the other pilot to catch up. The pilot was then contacted by the plane which the skydivers jumped from, and was told to immediately vacate the area.

That is when the pilot noticed only 100 metres away there was a tandem parachute.

James Meldrum, chief executive of Skydive Franz Josef, confirmed the incident involved the company's skydivers.

"Our tandem masters saw this occurring and entered a holding pattern, while we contacted the helicopter pilot, who very promptly vacated the area. The skydivers landed as usual, in their intended landing area, although we have a secondary landing area available."

There have been 50 near-miss incidents since January 2017.