Eurocopter on Wednesday advised that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has validated the safety measures the company has recommended in connection to its EC225 shaft failures. The main focus of the investigation has been to prevent cracking in the main gear bevel shaft.
It is understood that the fix involves a partial redesign of the bevel shaft as well as additional software and cockpit warning indicators. Eurocopter is preparing to help customers with the necessary modifications and maintenance training.
Operators of Eurocopter’s Super Puma EC225 fleet serving the energy industry in the North Sea have had their aircraft grounded since October 2012, when a CHC helicopter ditched off Shetland Islands, north of the Scottish mainland. This followed the April 2009 tragedy, when two crewmen and 14 oil workers were killed when their Bond AS332L2 had catastrophic gearbox failure and crashed into the sea. Two other lesser incidents involving the aircraft type also occurred.
A statement from the company reads: "Following this decision, CAA UK has lifted their operational restrictions and it is our understanding that the other national aviation authorities (Norway and Denmark) will also lift their restrictions shortly."
Eurocopter predicts that it will be able to start the process of returning all customer helicopters to full flight status in July. Further information can be found at the following website: www.ec225news.com.
Related: Offshore News