Brazil has chosen the Saab Gripen E as its new fighter aircraft, after years of indecision. Defense Minister Celso Amorim and Brazilian air force commander Bg. Juniti Saito announced their preference for the Swedish jet over the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Dassault Rafale after authorization from President Dilma Rousseff. Previous attempts to decide the FX-2 competition failed at the political level.
Brazilian Air Force
The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has released a further update on its investigation into the August 23 ditching of a Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma off the Shetlands islands. The latest document reveals that during the approach the pilot’s attention was drawn several times to a too-low-height warning.
The fatal crash of a CHC Scotia-operated Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma on August 23 off the Shetland Islands in the UK has created an outcry among passengers and is puzzling experts. Investigators have found no evidence of technical failure so far, nor have they hinted at human factors. Meanwhile, a pilot based in the North Sea noted that the helicopter seriously deviated from the expected course, two nautical miles from its destination, Sumburgh Airport.
While the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch is still probing the Eurocopter Super Puma fatal accident that killed four in August, the country’s CAA, its Norwegian counterpart and the European Aviation Safety Agency have launched a wider safety review of North Sea helicopter operations.
Amid calls for the grounding of Eurocopter Super Puma helicopters in the wake of the August 23 crash of an AS332L2 in the North Sea, the British Air Line Pilots Association (Balpa) has asked all operators of the Super Puma line to wait until the cause of has been positively determined before taking any action. The pilots’ union said its members still strongly support the aircraft. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department told AIN it has no plans to ground its three AS332L1s.
The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) recovered the cockpit voice/flight data recorder today from the Eurocopter Super Puma that ditched last Friday, killing four.
Helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter appears to be facing a backlash from North Sea oil workers after four people were killed in an AS332L2 Super Puma accident on Friday. Although the cause of the accident has not been established yet, unions and workers were quick to react to the fifth Super Puma accident or major incident in four years in the UK offshore industry.
“A CHC Helicopter [Eurocopter] Super Puma [AS332] L2 aircraft landed in the water Friday, August 23, about two nautical miles west of Sumburgh, on Shetland Island in the U.K.” CHC Helicopter said in statement issued yesterday.
Brazil’s Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) plans to retire its fleet of Mirage 2000 fighters at the end of this year. The announcement has brought new focus on Brazil’s longstanding but deferred FX-2 new fighter requirement. In testimony to the Brazilian Senate on August 13, FAB Commander Lt. Gen. Juniti Saito defended the need for new fighters to maintain an adequate air defense, as well as for the benefits any purchase would bring to Brazil’s own aerospace sector.
The 10th edition of the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (LABACE) opens tomorrow at Congonhas Airport in São Paulo. Brazil’s civil aviation minister, Moreira Franco, and the commandant of the Brazilian air force, Air Brigadier Saito, are expected to be the guests of honor at the opening ceremony and ribbon cutting.