20-Feb-2023 Source: HeliHub.com
An Airbus H175 helicopter operated by Offshore Helicopter Services UK (OHS) has suffered significant damage.
G-MCSH flew a 130 mile sector to the Elgin rig on the North Sea, due east of Aberdeen on the morning of Friday 17th February, departing just before 7.30am. Unfortunately the aircraft had a tail rotor issue prior to its return flight, and the tail rotor chip light illuminated – stranding the helicopter on the rig.
While parked on the Elgin rig, Storm Otto came through and snapped at least three of its five blades off close to the root. The H175 will need airlifting back to Aberdeen for repair.
(Editor update 24 Feb – photo of the rotorhead was posted on Reddit)
To add irony to the issue, OHS had sent another H175 G-MCSF to the Airbus Helicopters base in Albacete, Spain just three days earlier to undergo a major corrosion proofing exercise which will take it out of service for at least nine months. A third H175 from the fleet is now test flying in Albacete following completion of the same work program and will be very much welcomed back to the UK as backfill in the near future.
Wind speeds from Storm Otto were recorded on 17th February in excess of 80mph in a number of places across Scotland, with some gusts as high as 120mph.
A spokesperson for Offshore Helicopter Services UK said: “An H175 experienced a technical problem while on board a platform. Subsequently, strong winds resulted in some damage to the helicopter. An assessment is currently underway to determine the best next steps.”
Update 20-Feb-23 Industry sources advise that the rotor brake failed to hold the main blades from windmilling before they had been tied down, resulting in the loss of two broken blades into the sea and another blade hit the cockpit.