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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.”

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