Aviation Investigation A15P0217

Table of contents

Loss of situational awareness - difficulty to control

The occurrence

On 15 November 2015, a Helijet Sikorsky S76C+ (C-GHHJ) on a medevac flight was conducting a night approach to Tofino/Long Beach Airport, British Columbia, on a visual flight rules flight from Vancouver International Airport, British Columbia. During the approach, the flight crew experienced difficulty in controlling the helicopter. Control was re-established close to the ground, and the pilots repositioned and landed the helicopter. No injuries were reported.

Map of the area

Tofino/Long Beach Airport [CYAZ], British Colombia


Photo of Chris Johnston

Chris Johnston joined the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) in 2015 as a Regional Senior Investigator in the Air Investigations Branch, at the Pacific regional office in Richmond (British Columbia).

Mr. Johnston has more than 24 years' experience in civil aviation as a pilot and as an aircraft maintenance engineer. He holds an airline transport pilot licence (helicopter) with approximately 7000 hours' flight time as well as M1 and M2 aircraft maintenance engineering licences. Just prior to joining the TSB, Mr. Johnston worked as a company safety officer and quality assurance manager. He has also owned and operated a small helicopter charter company in British Columbia, where he held the position of Operations Manager, Chief Pilot, and Director of Maintenance.

Transportation Safety Board investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation:

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.



Aviation Investigation Report A15P0217
Loss of control during night approach and near collision with terrain
Helijet International Inc.
Sikorsky S-76C+ (helicopter), C-GHHJ
Tofino/Long Beach Airport, British Columbia
15 November 2015

Media materials

News release

Night flight without adequate visual references led to 2015 near-collision with terrain of a Helijet helicopter in Tofino, British Columbia
Read the news release