Super Puma Was Intact, Delivering Power before Crash
In the UK AAIB’s second update on the investigation into the August 23 Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma fatal accident, it appears the helicopter was “intact,” with “both engines delivering power,” when it struck the sea. The attitude was near level pitch with a slight right bank.
The recorded data shows a deviation from the expected course from about 2 nm from the runway threshold. There, the aircraft was approximately 240 feet below the vertical approach profile, with a rate of descent of approximately 500 fpm and an airspeed of 68 knots.
According to a North Sea-based pilot, this amount of vertical deviation is considered major and the aircraft was too slow for such a descent rate. The airspeed continued to reduce speed to below 30 knots, and as it did so the helicopter pitched increasingly nose-up.
Flight data shows that the descent rate remained constant for a period, before increasing rapidly. Shortly thereafter, the helicopter struck the sea. The autopilot localizer and vertical speed modes were engaged for the approach, the AAIB noted. The investigation continues.