More issues surface over Euro chopper safety

| 18/12/2013

(CNS): The manufacturers of the Eurocopter have issued a worldwide safety alert to operators of its EC135 model, the type that crashed in Scotland last month killing ten people and the helicopter used by the RCIPS. According to a report posted yesterday on the BBC, the firm said the latest problems were with the low fuel level warning system that had been discovered in a number of aircraft. A spokesman for Eurocopter said EC135 operators in Europe found supply-tank fuel gauging errors that overestimated the fuel on board. The local police air support unit told CNS that the RCIPS is in regular contact with Eurocopter and further safety checks have been conducted and no problems have been found.

“The priority for all air operations is safety and the RCIPS continues to monitor closely the reports and various investigations for any directions from the manufacturer and other agencies. As such, recent enhanced safety checks were conducted and after the enhanced safety checks were done all systems were found to be working correctly and no issues were found,” a spokesperson from the Air Support Unit said via email on Wednesday. “The RCIPS continue to liaise closely with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands.”

According to the UK reports, Eurocopter said it was issuing a safety notice to remind all EC 135 operators to follow the safety procedures already in place and outlined in the flight manual, regardless of the aircraft's fuel quantity indication

"The first analysis shows that the indication of the fuel quantity in the supply tanks could be overestimated," the company said in a statement. "All crews should be aware that in the worst case a red warning 'Low Fuel' could appear without any amber FUEL Caution before."

There is no suggestion that this latest problem it is linked to the crash at a Glasgow pub on 29 November, when a Scottish police helicopter crashed into the roof of the bar killing the three crew members and seven people inside. Air accident investigators have already said that the aircraft did not runout of fuel. Bond Air Services, which operated the police helicopter, grounded its fleet of 38 EC 135s last week. The move came after an air ambulance, one of its 22 aircraft leased in the UK, was found to have a fuel indicator problem. Tests found others also had the same fault.

The company said it would "update its Safety Information Notice as needed" with investigations continuing.

See full article on BBC

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