Bond Air Services, the UK’s largest independent emergency and mission critical helicopter operator providing air ambulance helicopter services, police and marine support to offshore wind farms and lighthouses, will resume flight operations of the EC 135 fleet at 07:00 on 9th May.
Bond Air Services took the decision to suspend all flight operations for the EC 135 based on safety grounds. This decision followed a Safety Information Notice, which was sent by Eurocopter, the manufacturer of the EC 135. The Safety Information Notice explained that further cracks had been identified on the lower rotor hub shaft flange. As a result Bond Air Services suspended operations of EC 135 flights until Eurocopter had thoroughly investigated the matter.
Over the last 34 hours, Bond Air Services have worked intensively with Eurocopter’s programme engineers to determine if the fleet can be flown safely. Eurocopter´s team have developed a deeper understanding of the strength and the stress levels present within the rotor hub and have shared the information with UK CAA and EASA. As a result of this intensive engineering analysis, Eurocopter has given an unequivocal guarantee that the EC 135 is safe to fly within normal operational limits following the continuing practice of visual inspections prior to each flight.
Given this guarantee, Bond Air Services will resume flight operations at 07:00 tomorrow morning 9th of May, continuing to follow the visual checking process recommended by the manufacturer. Meanwhile, the Bond Air Services team will continue to support engineers at Eurocopter and the Regulatory Authorities to expand the understanding of the root cause of this problem with a view to providing a permanent solution.For further technical information please contact Eurocopter directly.
[HeliHub.com editor note - The UK CAA confirmed to us yesterday that this action was taken by Bond only, this was not a grounding instigated by CAA or EASA or Eurocopter]
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