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ACCIDENT IN NORWAY

July 7, 2017

Airbus Helicopters expresses its deep regret for the tragedy which claimed the lives of 13 people off Turøy in Norway in 2016 and we offer our sincere and profound sympathies to the bereaved families.

Airbus Helicopters welcomes the lifting of the H225 and AS332 L2 flight ban by the UK & Norwegian national aviation authorities.

The safety case, originally approved by EASA in October 2016, has subsequently seen additional Airbus Helicopters’ improvements as a result of the learnings from the investigation which have, as is standard, been reinforced with EASA Airworthiness Directives.

Today, pending any further findings by the AIBN, this safety case is based on a design change addressing fatigue failure, improved spalling detection and increased reliability. This has been achieved with a series of measures including:

  • An improvement of the MGB’s design robustness through the replacement in all gearboxes of the part that broke in the LN-OJF accident with a more resistant part, as well as a significant reduction in the life limit of this type of part (from 4000 to 1000 flight hours).

  • An improved spalling detection system based on a new Full Flow Magnetic Plug (FFMP) to detect particles in the oil, a strengthened inspection criteria and equipment allowing a more detailed analysis of these particles, including very small ones.

  • A new quality assurance process better able to protect critical dynamic components throughout their maintenance history. This notably includes a new packaging system equipped with shock sensors.

  • This is the result of learnings from the investigation and the need to raise the bar in safety across industry to ensure that the strictest safety requirements are met.
    Although Airbus Helicopters welcomes the lifting of the H225 flight ban by Norwegian and UK aviation authorities, we understand that this will not necessarily result in immediate passenger flights as there is a lot of work to be done to restore confidence in the aircraft.
    Airbus Helicopters will continue to work on supporting the aircraft’s return to operations as and when required by customers.

    April 28, 2017

    Statement from Guillaume Faury, Chief Executive Officer at Airbus Helicopters

    Airbus Helicopters notes the publication of the preliminary report by the AIBN to mark the first anniversary of the H225 accident, which claimed the lives of 13 people off Turøy in Norway. We wish to express our deep regret at this tragedy, and again, we offer our sincere and profound sympathies to the bereaved families.

    Since the accident, we have been providing our full and complete support to the investigation. We have had regular technical meetings with the authorities as well as with all relevant helicopter industry bodies. We look forward to every opportunity to discuss with them the safety recommendations and technical points arising from the report. We are totally committed to transparency in all matters regarding aviation safety and international helicopter regulations. Indeed, it is the essence of what we do.

    In the course of the AIBN investigation, additional elements brought by the 2016 accident showed that there were mechanical similarities between the 2016 accident and an earlier one, in 2009. We were not aware of any related issue at the time of the 2016 accident.

    The information available to us from the 2016 accident has allowed us to take protective measures that we could unfortunately not have put in place in 2009 based on the knowledge and evidence available at the time, and also because significant parts from the 2009 accident were never recovered.

    We will continue to work with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and to comply with EASA airworthiness requirements. In the course of the investigation into the 2016 accident, we have implemented a set of protective measures which have been requested and validated by EASA. Nothing in this preliminary report alters this.

    We are using lessons learned from the ongoing investigations into the 2016 accident to set new standards for the helicopter industry. As part of these efforts, we are also looking to improve working practices across the sector.

    October 7, 2016

    Airbus Helicopters takes note of EASA’s decision to lift the temporary suspension it had put in place on 2 June 2016 for the H225 and AS332 L2 fleet. We are providing assistance to our customers and working with related stakeholders in order to help them return their aircraft to service at the appropriate time. Meanwhile, we maintain our full support to the AIBN in the frame of the ongoing investigation.

    June 28, 2016

    Airbus Helicopters takes note of the AIBN’s preliminary report update and welcomes the significant progress made by the investigation. We continue to focus our efforts on providing assistance to the investigation team and the authorities as they work toward the identification of the accident root cause. In parallel, we are putting precautionary measures in place to support our global customers and address potential initiating events.

    June 2, 2016

    In light of new findings from the AIBN’s preliminary accident investigation report, Airbus Helicopters supports EASA's cautious approach. We continue to fully support the ‎AIBN, EASA, our customers and the ongoing investigation by providing information in full transparency, while working with the wider industry to ensure safety.

    May 31, 2016

    Following the statement published on May 27th, Airbus Helicopters feels the need to clarify its position to avoid any possible misunderstanding.

    Airbus Helicopters is not ruling out any of the scenarios described by the AIBN in its updated preliminary report into the tragic LN-OJF accident. Although significant progress has been made in analyzing information regarding the suspension bar attachments, more work needs to be done on scenarios involving the epicyclic module and the MGB conical housing.

    We would like to stress that our chief priority is to further support the ongoing AIBN investigation and to identify the accident’s root cause.

    May 27, 2016

    Airbus Helicopters welcomes the publication on 27 May 2016 by the AIB Norway (AIBN) of its updated preliminary accident report. Airbus Helicopters is encouraged by the progress of the investigation and continues to provide its full support to the AIBN.

    Experts from the official investigation team have met this week at Airbus Helicopters facilities in Marignane. As stated in the AIBN report, “the main purpose of this 3-day meeting was to agree on further investigation of the parts that the AIBN has sealed and sent to Airbus Helicopters, and to discuss a list of possible scenarios that could explain the detachment of the main rotor.”

    According to Airbus Helicopters’ analysis, seven potential initial events have been retained to explain the main rotor detachment of LN-OJF. Out of these seven scenarios, only one – the failure of the attachment of a suspension bar – can be assessed as probable by Airbus Helicopters, based on the information available to date.

    At this stage, the exact cause of this possible event is still unknown. Analysis of the helicopter’s maintenance history has just started and should provide a better understanding of the most likely causes.

    May 13, 2016

    Airbus Helicopters welcomes the AIBN’s preliminary report and is encouraged by the progress of the investigation. We continue to focus our efforts on providing assistance to the investigation team, while working closely with our global customers to ensure that checks mandated by Airbus Helicopters and EASA are completed in support of the continued operations of the EC225LP.

    May 3, 2016

    Airbus Helicopters welcomes the announcement made by the Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN) today.

    The investigation will now solely be focused on potential root causes of a technical failure, such as design, production, and/or maintenance.

    Airbus Helicopters continues to provide its full support to the AIBN investigation.

    At this stage and based on the latest information, preliminary inspection of the main gearbox vertical shaft shows no link with the 2012 ditching events.

    In addition to the SIN 3031-S-00 and based on the on-going root cause analysis process, precautionary measures are requested:

  • An airworthiness directive has been issued requesting measures newly defined in the EASB 53A058 and additional one-off maintenance checks.

  • The EASB 53A058 requests the verification of the correct installation of all MGB suspension bar attachments for the EC225LP. Similar measures will be published shortly for the EC725AP in a specific ASB.

  • May 1, 2016

    Considering the additional information gathered during the last 48 hours, Airbus Helicopters’ decision, at this stage, is to not suspend flights of any nature for the EC225LP.

    However, out of respect for all those affected by the accident, Airbus Helicopters continues to stand by the decision taken by the Norwegian and UK authorities to put commercial EC225LP passenger flights on hold in Norway and in the UK.

    As investigations are progressing, Airbus Helicopters intends to provide an update in the coming days.

    April 29, 2016

    Airbus Helicopters regrets to confirm that a H225 operated by CHC was involved in a fatal accident off the coast of Norway near Turoey outside Bergen on Friday 29th April.

    Preliminary information obtained indicates that the helicopter was flying from Gullfaks B oil platform and was carrying a crew of 2 people plus 11 passengers from Statoil ASA. Latest reports state that 11 people have died and two are missing.

    Airbus Helicopters and all of its staff are deeply affected by this tragic accident. We share the pain of the families, friends and colleagues of the victims.

    At this point in the investigation, we do not have any information that allows us to understand the causes of the accident that involved the aircraft’s rotor being detached, nor to make any links to events that have occurred previously.

    Airbus Helicopters is participating in the on-going investigation and two technical experts are currently on their way to Norway to provide their assistance to the local authorities. In the frame of the investigation, information related to the background of the aircraft is being gathered. The preliminary elements of the inquiry should become available in the coming days.

    Under these tragic circumstances, and until these elements are available, we are allied with the decision taken to put all commercial EC225LP passenger flights on hold.