8-Dec-2013 Source: HeliHub.com
It has been widely reported in recent days that the City of New York has filed a lawsuit against Bell, effectively requesting them to supply a new helicopter for the one that crashed, which they claim was defective. See story in NY Daily News
However, in looking at this situation, you also need to consider another law suit, the NTSB report and NYPD’s history with Bell.
The six occupants Erin Nolan, James Varga, Thomas Diaz, Michael Casali, Sean Daly and Raphael Saavedra (and three of their spouses) filed a separate suit in September against Bell and engine manufacturers Pratt & Whitney regarding the same accident – see full story in Courthouse News
The NTSB report for the accident – reference ERA10TA493 in which they determine the probable cause(s) was”The fatigue fracture of the reduction gearbox output drive gear, which resulted in the loss of power output from the engines to the helicopter rotor blade system and a subsequent forced landing. The fracture of the output drive gear was caused by a fatigue crack that originated in a helical tooth root most likely as a result of hydrogen embrittlement during the manufacturing process”. Their report also noted the injuries as “6 Minor“.
The NYPD have long been a Bell customer, and this case will put strain on that relationship. Obviously Bell will have been unhappy that NYPD broke away from exclusively using Bell as helicopter suppliers when they bought four AgustaWestland AW119s in 2003-4. Other manufacturers will be watching the outcome of this case closely to see whether their chances of cosying up to NYPD improve, depending on how Bell deal with the case.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com