Aircraft Were Grounded Following Ditching Incident In October
On October 22, a CHC Super Puma helicopter with 19 people aboard ditched in the North Sea, the second such accident involving an EC225 this year. All of the people on board both aircraft were rescued, but the incidents prompted the grounding of all of all of the Super Pumas flying workers to North Sea oil rigs. The decision was made by CHC, Eurocopter, Bristow, Bond, Era and others in consultation with customers and other groups.
CHC said in a news release that now, in conjunction with groups like the European Helicopter Operators Committee and U.K. Helicopter Safety Steering Group, and working with important guidance from the U.K. Air Accident Investigation Branch and the European Aviation Safety Agency, the company is collaborating to responsibly return as many of those on-hold aircraft as possible to service.
Super Puma aircraft with bevel gear vertical shafts that are unrelated to the October incident, as well as the incident which occurred in May involving another operator, have been deemed airworthy. Other Super Pumas will resume flights once their affected shafts can be replaced. EC225s industry wide and around the world will not fly until there is a solid plan to assure their airworthiness. The exception will be for aircraft flying life-or-death search-and-rescue missions.
CHC teams are working with customers to explain and manage implications of these actions. We are regularly updating customers and will continue to do so until the EC225s are back in the air. Additionally, the company is calling attention to information about the Super Puma and EC225 fleets provided by Eurocopter.