Air Force NH90 suffers in-flight engine failure

Air Force NH90 suffers inflight engine failure
A crew member working on the left engine which failed (supplied)

An Air Force NH90 helicopter suffered serious engine failure while flying over Cook Strait and was forced to make an emergency landing at a small club airfield near Blenheim.

The aircraft had nine people onboard and was returning to Ohakea Airbase near Bulls after performing at the Omaka Air Show on Sunday, Newshub understands.

It was flying at a height of 1000ft (304.8 metres) around 4 nautical miles (7.4km) off the coast of Cloudy Bay when one of its two engines failed.

The NH90 can fly on one engine, but it can't hover. It's understood the helicopter started to shudder and a fire warning activated in the cockpit.

Crew made a controlled descent and landed at the recently-opened Cloudy Bay Airfield. Witnesses told Newshub it made a rolling landing like an aeroplane, rather than a vertical landing.

(Josh Fogden/Mark Brown MediaWorks)
(Josh Fogden/Mark Brown MediaWorks)

Onboard was a pilot, a co-pilot, 2 loadmasters, and five other passengers as well as cargo.

(Josh Fogden/Mark Brown MediaWorks)
(Josh Fogden/Mark Brown MediaWorks)

A Defence Force spokesperson has confirmed the incident.

"One of the Air Force's NH90 helicopters made an emergency  landing near Blenheim on Sunday due to issues with one of its two engines," a spokesperson said.

"The aircraft, with nine personnel on board, landed without incident. An aircraft maintenance team is currently on site."

The Royal New Zealand Air Force has 8 NH90s in its fleet, which were delivered brand new in 2011/12.