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Air transportation safety investigation A21O0056

TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 29 September 2022.

Table of contents

Wire strike and collision with terrain

Apex Helicopters Inc.
Robinson R44 (helicopter), C-FVPA
Brantford, Ontario

View final report

The occurrence

On 25 July 2021, at 0656 Eastern Daylight Time, the Robinson R44 helicopter (registration C-FVPA, serial number 0846), operated by Apex Helicopters Inc., departed from a field on the outskirts of Brantford, Ontario, on a visual flight rules flight for the purpose of agricultural spraying.

The pilot, the sole occupant on board, began a reconnaissance of the fields to be sprayed, starting with the field where the occurrence would take place.

One minute and eight seconds later, the helicopter struck wires at the eastern edge of the southernmost field to be sprayed. The helicopter became uncontrollable and crashed approximately 270 feet from the wire strike location, coming to rest upright.

The pilot was seriously injured. The helicopter was destroyed. There was no post-impact fire. The emergency locator transmitter did not activate.

Media materials

News release


Ineffective reconnaissance, glare from the sun, and unexpected position of the wires led to the July 2021 helicopter accident in Brantford, Ontario
Read the news release

Deployment notice


TSB deploys team of investigators Brantford, Ontario following a helicopter accident

Richmond Hill, Ontario, 25 July 2021 — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has deployed a team of investigators to the site of an accident involving a Robinson R44 helicopter in Brantford, Ontario. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Jon Douma

Jon Douma is a Senior Regional Investigator - Operations with the Ontario Region of the Air Investigations Branch. He joined the TSB in 2019 following 12 years in the business aviation sector, where he flew multiple jet and turboprop types and operated throughout North America, the Caribbean, and Eastern and Western Europe.

Prior to business aviation, he spent several years as a flight instructor, and has maintained an interest in general aviation since then, building and flying multiple amateur-built aircraft with his grandfather.

Class of investigation

This is a class 3 investigation. These investigations analyze a small number of safety issues, and may result in recommendations. Class 3 investigations are generally completed within 450 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

TSB 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.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.