CHC Helicopter-operated Airbus Helicopters AS332 L2. Photo courtesy of CHC
Norway's accident investigation board has released safety recommendations in its final report of the fatal 2016 crash of an Airbus Helicopters Super Puma off the coast of Norway.
The crash occurred due to unanticipated faults in the aircraft's manufacturing, not crew handling or operator maintenance actions, the safety board concluded in its final report released last week.
"An extensive and complex investigation revealed that the accident was a result of a fatigue fracture in one of the eight second stage planet gears in the epicyclic module of the main rotor gearbox," the report said. Further, the report said, "none of the monitoring systems on [the helicopter] provided any warnings of the impending second stage planet gear failure."
In response, the board has issued 12 recommendations addressing weaknesses in EASA's certification specifications and Airbus Helicopters' type design of the EC225 LP, which is part of H225 family.
One recommendation suggested that Airbus revise the type design "to improve the robustness, reliability and safety of the main gearbox in AS332 L2s and EC225 LPs."
Ten of its recommendations suggested updates to EASA's current regulations regarding certification and airworthiness standards on helicopters.
Finally, one recommendation was for the International Civil Aviation Organization to ensure investigation authorities have open access to relevant information or records about any helicopter.
Last year, Airbus had implemented some design changes on the Super Puma. EASA also ordered new checks on the aircraft in September.
Airbus CEO Bruno Even in a public statement said, "Safety is always our top priority and we therefore welcome the final accident report from the AIBN."
The company's statement continues, "As a result of the measures introduced by Airbus Helicopters and approved by global and national aviation authorities, including the U.K. and Norwegian CAAs, the H225 meets the most stringent, global airworthiness standards."