The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for the Eurocopter AS350 and AS355 to require inspecting for a crack in the control lever attachment yokes and, if needed, replacing the tail-rotor gearbox (TGB). The AD was prompted by the improper casting of TGB casing assemblies, which may lead to cracking. A crack in the control lever attachment yokes could cause a loss of tail-rotor pitch control and loss of control of the helicopter.
Eurocopter has issued another emergency Service Bulletin and the EASA has published another emergency Airworthiness Directive for the EC225 and AS332L2 Super Pumas, this time centering on a life-raft housing. During an EC225 delivery flight, a sponson life-raft ejectable cowling was lost. It was caused by the incorrect positioning of a locking system during cowling installation. This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to the in-flight hazardous inflation of the life raft, according to the EASA.
A Canadian Coast Guard MBB (Eurocopter) Bo-105 on a research support flight crashed into the Arctic Sea on September 10, killing all three people aboard. The helicopter was operating from the icebreaker Amundsen when it went down in the M’Clure Strait off the coast of Banks Island in the Western Arctic.
In 1996, Eurocopter became the first Western rotorcraft maker to enter the Russian market and it is testament to the sector’s great potential that the company is now facing a more concerted challenge in the country from rivals such as AgustaWestland and Bell Helicopters.
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.
In the wake of a recent accident, three stakeholders in the Eurocopter Super Puma arena have rallied to support the aircraft’s safety record and image. “We do not believe that the accident was caused by an airworthiness or technical problem,” the UK CAA said in a statement.
Vector Aerospace, a Vancouver-based maintenance, repair and overhaul service, recently loaded four upgraded Eurocopter AS332L helicopters onto an Antonov An-124 at Vancouver International Airport. Two of the AS332Ls were bound for Australia for use in offshore oil rig servicing contracts and the other two were sent to Afghanistan for utility 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.
American Eurocopter announced several new initiatives at the recent Airborne Law Enforcement Association (ALEA) annual convention, most of them related to how the company supports the more than 200 AS350 AStars in use with U.S. law-enforcement agencies.
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.