The UK Parliament’s transport committee has released a report on offshore helicopter safety that indicates passenger culture can be intimidating and crash survivors feel uncomfortable about their relationship with investigators. The report touches on “troubling evidence about a macho bullying culture,” with reports that offshore workers concerned about helicopter safety were told they should leave the industry.
April 2009 North Sea helicopter crash
A Eurocopter EC135T2i light twin helicopter, operated by Bond Air Services for Police Scotland, crashed into a busy pub in Glasgow on Friday night, killing nine and injuring more than 30. Among the nine fatalities are the helicopter’s three occupants–a Bond pilot and two police officers.
The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is investigating, along with Eurocopter engineers. Eurocopter asserted that since the four main rotor blades are still attached to the main rotor mast, a crack in the mast is unlikely to have caused the accident.
Preliminary Report: Turboprop Single Crashes from High Altitude
Daher-Socata TBM 850, 75 miles west of Ottawa, Canada, Oct. 8, 2012–A TBM 850 spiraled from FL270 and struck the ground near the Canadian city of Calabogie, Ontario. The 26,000-hour pilot, also a flight instructor and the only occupant, was killed in the crash. The aircraft was brand new and registered on Sept. 18, 2012. The reason for the spiral has not yet been determined.
Preliminary Report: Twin-Turboprop Crash Kills 19 in Nepal
Shell Oil announced on May 31 that it is pulling the plug on plans to sign a multimillion-dollar deal with UK-based Bond Offshore Helicopters to provide transportation within the UK.
A Eurocopter EC225 operated by Bond Offshore Helicopters with 14 on board ditched safely into the North Sea on May 10. At 12:13 p.m., G-REDW made “a controlled descent 24 nm offshore,” according to Bond. The investigation is focusing on the failures of two main-gearbox lubrication systems–the standard one and the back-up one.
The EASA issued an emergency Airworthiness Directive for Eurocopter EC225 medium-twin helicopters, requiring operators to closely monitor vibrations. The emergency action stems from a May 10 incident involving an EC225 operated by Bond Offshore Helicopters, which safely ditched, with 14 on board, into the North Sea. Under the AD, those EC225s not equipped with vibration health monitoring are restricted to day VFR for flights over water.
The final report issued by the UK’s Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) after the 2009 crash of a Bond-operated Eurocopter AS332 L2 Super Puma in the North Sea is highlighting imperfections in the main gearbox’s design and, maybe more important, in monitoring systems and maintenance programs.
The EASA issued a new AD for the Eurocopter Super Puma intermediate gearbox (IGB) fairing gutter on December 21, calling for correction as described in Eurocopter service bulletins. It also requires reduced inspection intervals.
The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has issued a special bulletin concerning the April 1 crash of a Eurocopter AS 332L2 Super Puma in the sea near Peterhead, Scotland. The investigation has determined that a failure within the epicyclic reduction gearbox module of the main rotor gearbox caused the rupture of the gearbox case, which allowed the main rotor head to separate from the helicopter.
Eurocopter AS 332-L2 Super Puma, off Crimond, Scotland, April 1, 2009–A Bond Offshore Super Puma crashed in the North Sea while transporting offshore oil workers. The helicopter went down 35 miles east of Crimond, killing all 16 people on board. The pilot radioed a Mayday before the crash. The accident followed the nonfatal ditching of a Bond Offshore EC 225 Super Puma in the North Sea on February 18.
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