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- 05/12/2012, 21:02 #1
El problema del rotor principal Eurocopter EC225 no estará resuelto hasta febrero de 2013
Parece que el problema del rotor principal del Super Puma con esteroides va para largo:
Eurocopter targets February 2013 for EC225 fix
Please find below the latest information following a meeting with the Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) on November 15, with the participation of Eurocopter President and CEO Lutz Bertling and Eurocopter Executive Vice President Engineering Jean-Brice Dumont.
The goal of this meeting was to provide more information on the current investigation and the ongoing tests performed on the Main Gear Box (MGB) and the EMergency LUBrication system (EMLUB) related to the controlled ditching of an EC225 on Oct 22, 2012.
Ensuring that Eurocopter does not make any compromises when it comes to safety, Lutz Bertling expressed his deep apologies to the passengers, crews and operators involved in the two ditchings and as well those who are heavily impacted by the current reduction of transport capacity. Acknowledging that 2 controlled water landings are indeed 2 too many, he fully shares the concerns of all customers, their crew and all offshore workers.
Eurocopter teams, with the full support and personal implication of Mr. Bertling, are working on the case with the highest priority. With the firm objective to regain the confidence of operators, crew members and passengers by initiating adapted and definitive solutions to safely resume flights with the EC225, Eurocopter reaffirms its commitment to act in full transparency with authorities and the oil and gas stakeholders.
Eurocopter's four main priorities in the coming weeks are to:
1. Determine the root causes of the two events
2. Fully understand the failure of the EMLUB indicator and correct this alarm indicator failure
3. Define correct definitive measures to fix the shaft issue
4. Proceed with the validation of this solution by the AAIB and the operators before implementation.
Providing the latest update on the findings, Eurocopter confirmed that the latest analyses show that there are various similarities between the two controlled ditchings in the North Sea, which took place in May and October of this year. In particular, the EMLUB was activated and seems to have operated during both flights.
The investigation is proceeding at full speed under the oversight of the AAIB. A hypothesis of the root cause for the main gearbox shaft failure has been developed and Eurocopter must now confirm this through ground and flight testing. On the basis that this hypothesis is correct, the best view today is that Eurocopter will require 3 months to complete testing, agree on corrective measures with the authorities and communicate with the various industry stakeholders.
The main gearbox emergency lubrication system is also subject to intense testing. As the system is actuated by Engine pressure air blow, a full systems test at the engine test facilities of Turbomeca was conducted this week allowing a complete verification of the engine and EMLB interfaces in all flight circumstances. In addition, Eurocopter is working on additional measures and improvement actions to be presented in the coming weeks.
Therefore, a return to flight of the EC225 in full capacity and over water is expected in February 2013. Eurocopter will of course make its best efforts to reduce this timeframe.
Eurocopter has also invited HSSG representatives to visit Eurocopter in order to see firsthand the company's design, production and quality management procedures at its facility in Marignane (France). The HSSG has also welcomed the proposal to involve experts from the operators to participate in the validation of the corrective solutions, in addition to the validation of the AAIB before implementation for the EC225. In the meantime, Eurocopter has already worked closely with operators to ensure the return to service of certain AS332L2 aircraft. For this fleet, Eurocopter is implementing a close collaborative forecasting process with operators' logistics teams in order to be in a position to anticipate the additional demand for spare parts and technical support.
Eurocopter renews its commitment to openly communicate with operators, final customers and offshore workers in order to share, on a regular basis, as much information as possible concerning the evolution of the situation.
- 06/12/2012, 15:17 #2
Bertling: EC225 grounding 'biggest issue' in Eurocopter history
Bertling: EC225 grounding 'biggest issue' in Eurocopter history
Eurocopter faces the "biggest issue" in its 20-year history, according to its chief executive, as the airframer attempts to deal with the fallout from two related ditchings of EC225s in the North Sea.
Speaking at a Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) meeting in November, according to minutes seen by Flightglobal, Eurocopter boss Lutz Bertling admitted the UK's oil and gas industry had "lost confidence in the EC225 helicopters and in Eurocopter".
Although the EC225 fleet used for offshore transportation in the oil and gas sector has been grounded in the UK and Norway since October, after rulings by both countries' civil aviation regulators, Bertling says Eurocopter's first priority is not to return the Super Pumas to service, but to "regain confidence in the aircraft, company and solution".
Eurocopter is still attempting to identify the root cause of the cracks in the main gearbox bevel gear shafts that forced the ditchings of helicopters operated by Bond Offshore Helicopters and CHC Scotia in May and October respectively.
Eurocopter chief technical officer Jean-Brice Dumont told the HSSG meeting the company believes the fractures were caused by "resonance" and it has embarked on a flight- and ground-test campaign to verify its hypothesis. Although speculation has focused on the potential need to replace hundreds of the gearbox shafts, Dumont says if its theory is correct, "the fix will lie in the internal operating conditions as opposed to the part itself".
However, helicopter operators and oil and gas companies may need further convincing before regaining their trust in the company. Speaking at the meeting, Richard Mintern, Bond Aviation Group chief executive, said industry should form part of the validation process.
Bertling supported this suggestion and, in addition, offered industry representatives the opportunity to visit Eurocopter's Marignane plant to see "details of the investigation, testing, general design and maintenance processes".
The minutes also highlight a disagreement between European regulator EASA and the UK's CAA on how to proceed following the second ditching. Giles Porter, representing the UK regulator, says it requested that EASA include operational limitations in its airworthiness directive, issued on 25 October, "however, they were resistant". Therefore, the CAA went ahead with its effective grounding notice.
To lift the overwater flight ban, Porter says: "CAA airworthiness experts must be satisfied that all problems have been fully resolved so that there will be no recurrence of the incident."
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