The Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority has extended the no flight ban on all helicopters of the H225 and AS332L2 type, meaning that the two helicopter types now cannot be used even for the search and rescue missions.
To remind, the original ban, excluding SAR missions, has been in place since the fatal Super Puma crash near Turoy, Norway, on April 29.
The extension of the ban follows a safety recommendation by Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN) late on June 1.
Namely, the AIBN’s investigation has found that there is a possible safety issue that can affect Main Gear Boxes at other helicopters of the same type, adding that the nature of the catastrophic failure of the helicopter’s main rotor system indicates that the current means to detect a failure in advance are not effective.
Thus, the AIBN recommended on Monday that “that EASA take immediate action to ensure the safety of the Airbus Helicopters H225 Main Gear Box.”
To remind, the incident happened on Friday, April 29, just before noon, when the CHC-owned, Airbus-built helicopter crashed near Bergen. Two pilots and eleven passengers died. The helicopter had been on its way from Statoil’s Gullfaks B platform, back to land.
The accident spurred the aviation authorities both in Norway and the UK to suspend all the EH225 helicopters’ flights, except for those involved in search and rescue missions. British aviation authority, due to public holiday on June 1, has not yet decided whether it will follow the Norwegian decision.
After the SAR flights suspension decision, the Norwegian oil giant Statoil said it was mobilizing the necessary resources to safeguard preparedness requirements.
The company uses the H225 helicopters in its SAR emergency service from the Oseberg Field Centre, Statfjord B and at Sola.
“Transport services to installations that until now have been covered by H225 SAR preparedness will be adjusted such that satisfactory preparedness is maintained,” the oil company said.
Offshore Energy Today Staff / Images by: Statoil