North Sea CHC AS332 accident – AAIB point firmly at pilot error

North Sea CHC AS332 accident – AAIB point firmly at pilot error

21-Oct-2013 Source:

The crash of a CHC Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma 1.5 nm west of Sumburgh Airport on 23 August 2013 as drawn a lot of comment and speculation. The British aircraft investigators – the Air Accicent Investigation Branch (AAIB) have issued a second bulletin on the accident – S7/2013 – AS332 L2 Super Puma, G-WNSB  – now come as near as they ever do to saying “Pilot Error” – they would never specifically use those words, though, presumably for legal reasons. Just read between the lines of this extract

“To date, the wreckage examination and analysis of the recorded data have not found any evidence of a technical fault that could have been causal to the accident, although some work remains to be completed. The ongoing AAIB investigation will focus on the operational aspects of the flight; specifically on the effectiveness of pilot monitoring of instruments during the approach, operational procedures and the training of flight crews”

Additionally, Eurocopter had been provided the necessary data to review, and the AAIB report their response as:-

“in the last 30 minutes of flight prior to impact with the sea, the helicopter had behaved as expected based on the recorded control inputs, and no pre-impact malfunction was evident. This initial analysis also showed that the combination of the nose-high attitude, low airspeed, high rate of descent and high power placed the helicopter in a vortex‑ring state entry condition (VRS) during the final stages of the flight. The manufacturer’s modelling indicated that, in this condition, the reduced helicopter performance, together with the limited height available, meant that the impact with the sea was unavoidable”

Ben Haverdee –

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