Super Puma may fly again, Relentless tests resume, and other rotary news
The UK and Norwegian Civil Aviation Authorities have outlined plans to lift the operating restrictions for Eurocopter/airbus AS332L2 and H225LP (Super Puma) helicopters, which were imposed on commercial operations following the April 2016 fatal accident to an H225 near Turøy, Norway. EASA released the helicopters back into service in October 2016, but the restrictions will remain in place in the UK and Norway until these changes and modifications have been made to the helicopter and its maintenance by Airbus Helicopters. Change in the design by removal of the components that were susceptible to premature deterioration Earlier replacement of components Design change to introduce an improved maintenance inspection method to detect any deterioration at an early stage More frequent inspections Reduction in the thresholds for rejecting components based upon early signs of any deterioration. The UK CAA says that the helicopters will not begin flying until a plan of checks, modifications and inspections have taken place and individual operators and their customers will decide whether they wish to re-introduce the helicopters to service. In order to resume operations individual operators will need to supply safety cases to ensure they have all the necessary measures, procedures, processes, tooling and training in place for a return to service.
“This is not a decision we have taken lightly,” notes John Mccoll, CAA Head of Airworthiness. “It has only been made after receiving extensive information from the Norwegian accident investigators and being satisfied with the subsequent changes introduced by Airbus Helicopters through detailed assessment and analysis. The safety of those who travel on offshore helicopter flights is a key priority for both the UK and Norwegian aviation authorities. We would not have made this decision unless we were convinced that the changes to the helicopters and their maintenance restore the required airworthiness standards.
“We continue to work with the helicopter operators, the offshore industries, international regulators, unions and pilot representatives to enhance offshore safety standards still further, and all these parties are actively involved in ongoing discussions.”