21-Nov-2012 Source: Eurocopter
Please find below the latest information following a meeting with the Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) on November 15, with the participation of Eurocopter President and CEO Lutz Bertling and Eurocopter Executive Vice President Engineering Jean-Brice Dumont.
The goal of this meeting was to provide more information on the current investigation and the ongoing tests performed on the Main Gear Box (MGB) and the EMergency LUBrication system (EMLUB) related to the controlled ditching of an EC225 on Oct 22, 2012.
Ensuring that Eurocopter does not make any compromises when it comes to safety, Lutz Bertling expressed his deep apologies to the passengers, crews and operators involved in the two ditchings and as well those who are heavily impacted by the current reduction of transport capacity. Acknowledging that 2 controlled water landings are indeed 2 too many, he fully shares the concerns of all customers, their crew and all offshore workers.
Eurocopter teams, with the full support and personal implication of Mr. Bertling, are working on the case with the highest priority. With the firm objective to regain the confidence of operators, crew members and passengers by initiating adapted and definitive solutions to safely resume flights with the EC225, Eurocopter reaffirms its commitment to act in full transparency with authorities and the oil and gas stakeholders.
Eurocopter’s four main priorities in the coming weeks are to:
1. Determine the root causes of the two events
2. Fully understand the failure of the EMLUB indicator and correct this alarm indicator failure
3. Define correct definitive measures to fix the shaft issue
4. Proceed with the validation of this solution by the AAIB and the operators before implementation.
Providing the latest update on the findings, Eurocopter confirmed that the latest analyses show that there are various similarities between the two controlled ditchings in the North Sea, which took place in May and October of this year. In particular, the EMLUB was activated and seems to have operated during both flights.
The investigation is proceeding at full speed under the oversight of the AAIB. A hypothesis of the root cause for the main gearbox shaft failure has been developed and Eurocopter must now confirm this through ground and flight testing. On the basis that this hypothesis is correct, the best view today is that Eurocopter will require 3 months to complete testing, agree on corrective measures with the authorities and communicate with the various industry stakeholders.
The main gearbox emergency lubrication system is also subject to intense testing. As the system is actuated by Engine pressure air blow, a full systems test at the engine test facilities of Turbomeca was conducted this week allowing a complete verification of the engine and EMLB interfaces in all flight circumstances. In addition, Eurocopter is working on additional measures and improvement actions to be presented in the coming weeks.
Therefore, a return to flight of the EC225 in full capacity and over water is expected in February 2013. Eurocopter will of course make its best efforts to reduce this timeframe.
Eurocopter has also invited HSSG representatives to visit Eurocopter in order to see firsthand the company’s design, production and quality management procedures at its facility in Marignane (France). The HSSG has also welcomed the proposal to involve experts from the operators to participate in the validation of the corrective solutions, in addition to the validation of the AAIB before implementation for the EC225. In the meantime, Eurocopter has already worked closely with operators to ensure the return to service of certain AS332L2 aircraft. For this fleet, Eurocopter is implementing a close collaborative forecasting process with operators’ logistics teams in order to be in a position to anticipate the additional demand for spare parts and technical support.
Eurocopter renews its commitment to openly communicate with operators, final customers and offshore workers in order to share, on a regular basis, as much information as possible concerning the evolution of the situation.