Another helicopter type banned after crash in Norway

Following the fatal helicopter crash in Norway almost two weeks ago, and a ban on all Airbus EC225 Super Puma helicopter flights, Norwegian and UK authorities have extended the no flight ban on another type of helicopter.

According to Oil and Gas UK, the UK and Norwegian Civil Aviation Authorities have agreed to extend the scope of the restriction on helicopter flights to include the AS332L2 Super Puma helicopter until further information is available.

The decision to extend the restriction is based on the close similarities between the two types of helicopter and neither helicopter can be used by either UK or Norwegian operators for commercial flights. The restrictions do not apply to search and rescue flights, Oil and Gas UK said in the statement on Wednesday.

Mick Borwell, Health, Safety and Environment Policy Director with Oil & Gas UK, said: “We assume that new information has come to light for this decision to be taken and we support that decision. We must wait for the facts to emerge but in the interim we will work with all stakeholders on the issues that may now arise. Oil & Gas UK had already set up a helicopter resilience group that met earlier this week to discuss how logistics are being managed. We will be meeting again at the earliest opportunity to discuss this latest development. We will do all that we can to support our members in enabling the workforce to travel safely.”

To remind, a CHC-operated, Airbus-manufactured, Super Puma helicopter carrying 13 people crashed on Friday, April 29, in Turoy, near Bergen, Norway. All thirteen people – two pilots, and eleven passengers, died in the accident. The helicopter had left the Statoil-operated Gullfaks B platform in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, when its rotor apparently broke off, causing the aircraft to crash.

While parts of the helicopter have been retrieved by a crane vessel, Norwegian investigators during the weekend said that they would continue the search for components at the accident site, with the main focus on the search is for parts connected to the main gearbox. They said the search would  continue as long as required.

Following the crash in Norway, a poll on Change.org has been launched, addressed to the UK Civil Aviation Authority, with more than 25 thousand people asking for the Airbus EC225 Super Puma to be retired, citing safety concerns.

According to The Herald, the CAA in response said such decision could only be made on a European, and not on national level.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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