Operators limit helicopter flights after in-flight rotor separation

Image: © Airbus Helicopters

Australian operators of the Airbus Helicopters H225 (formerly Eurocopter EC225) have voluntarily agreed to ground the type for commercial operations after Friday’s crash off the coast of Norway, which killed all 13 on board. However, where human life is at risk, it can still be used for search and rescue flights.

CASA is monitoring the situation and is liaising with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Any airworthiness direction affecting the H225 EASA may issue will automatically apply to Australian operators of the EC225.

The civil aviation authorities of Norway and the United Kingdom reacted to the crash with directives temporarily prohibiting the use of the H225 for public transport flights and other commercial air transport operations, but allowing for search and rescue flights. Australian operators have agreed to adhere to the limitations set out in the United Kingdom CAA’s Safety Directive.

The H225 Super Puma that crashed was flying from an offshore oil installation in the North Sea to Bergen-Flesland Airport, Norway.

A video shot by a witness on the ground shows the main rotor falling after having separated from the helicopter.

The Aviation Safety Network reported the helicopter received a new main gearbox on 17 January this year and a new main rotor head on 27 March this year.

The Accident Investigation Board of Norway said the aircraft’s combined voice and flight data recorder (CVFDR) had been sent to the UK for analysis, while other wreckage was being examined in Bergen.