Fuel starvation key to Glasgow EC135 investigation, says AAIB

Fuel starvation key to Glasgow EC135 investigation, says AAIB

14-Feb-2014 Source: HeliHub.com

AAIB have released a new report on the fatal Eurocopter EC135T2+ accident on 29th November 2013 in Glasgow UK.  The summary ends with

“In particular, the investigation will seek to determine why a situation arose that led to both the helicopter’s engines flaming out when 76 kg of fuel remained in the fuel tank group, why no emergency radio transmission was received from the pilot and why, following the double engine failure, an autorotative descent and flare recovery was not achieved.”

In addition they note that Bond Air Services issued the following Operations Manual amendment on 20th December, in which they replaced the MLA with Final Reserve Fual

‘An Emergency condition can be considered to exist if the Commander believes that the helicopter will land below Final Reserve Fuel (FRF).’

The operator also issued the following safety notice to all its pilots on the same date.

‘… we have conducted detailed examinations and tests on our fleet of EC135s. ……. As a result of these test it was deemed necessary to replace the sender units [fuel quantity transmitters] from the supply tanks on a number of our aircraft.

Until such a time as we have an approved maintenance program [from the manufacturer] in place to perform functional checks of these units we have deemed it necessary to maintain a Final Reserve Fuel (FRF) 90Kgs. When completing fuel calculations ……… please use 90kgs as the FRF for all flights (VFR & IFR) until further notice.’

Prior to the accident, MLA (Minimum Land on Allowance) was included with in the Final Reserve Fuel figure of 85kg

At the point of impact, AAIB state that the particular aircraft had 76kg of fuel on board.

Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com

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