Inspection, Modification Under Way on Offshore Super Puma Helicopters

A program of inspection and modification of the two models of Super Puma helicopter subject to recommendations by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is now under way following the release over the weekend of an Airworthiness Directive by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and an Alert Service Bulletin issued by the manufacturers Eurocopter, industry body Oil & Gas UK advised today (April 19, 2009).

None of the twenty-five Super Puma AS332L2 and EC225LP helicopters affected will fly until its epicyclic gear box module has been both fully inspected in accordance with the Airworthiness Directive issued by EASA on Friday evening and modified in accordance with a subsequent Alert Service Bulletin issued by Eurocopter on Saturday.

This program will see all companies progressively return these aircraft to service from Tuesday. It is expected that it will take around 10 days before all the aircraft are flying again.

Malcolm Webb, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK, said, "Oil & Gas UK applauds the way in which the UK helicopter operating companies are dealing with this matter. The companies are allowed three months to complete the modification. However, they have decided not to fly these aircraft until both the inspection and the modification have been completed, which must be in the best interests of safety for all those working offshore."