TSB Wants Safer Helicopter in Wake of S-92 Crash

 - July 29, 2011, 7:50 AM

The chairman of Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) wants a mandatory 30-minute “run dry” requirement on all main gearboxes (MGB) for future helicopters. Wendy Tadros’s remarks came as part of the TSB’s investigation of the March 2009 fatal crash of a Sikorsky S-92A off Newfoundland, 11 minutes after its MGB ran out of oil. The TSB also wants the FAA to mandate improvements to the S-92 so it can satisfy the 30-minute standard. Sikorsky lost another round of litigation related to the crash when a Canadian court recently denied its request to move a lawsuit against it by the crashed S-92’s operator, Cougar, and its insurer, out of Canada. Sikorsky settled claims brought by the families of the 17 dead victims and sole survivor in 2010.

The TSB has given “satisfactory intent” rating on responses to four recommendations stemming from its investigation into the crash. For helicopters certified in the future, the FAA, Transport Canada (TC) and the EASA have all agreed to review the certification rules, the TSB noted, hoping a 30-minute run-dry capability will become standard for main gearboxes. However, it is concerned that today’s S-92As can still fly for only 11 minutes in the event of a total loss of oil. The TSB is thus “seeking prompt clarification from the FAA” on whether it will require improvements to the S-92A’s main gearbox.