Sunday, May 27, 2012

SUPER PUMA DITCH RATES OF CONCERN

I have been busy the last few weeks making it tougher and tougher to find time in the evenings to write posts and read.

I missed this story all together, did it get any play?

Did you hear about the Bond EC 225 Super Puma helicopter that ditched in the North Sea on May 10th on-route to a the Jasmine field.  All passengers and crew survived the "controlled ditch" but the rsults of the investigation into what forced the pilots to ditch should be of concern in this province.

The The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said last week that a cracked shaft in the gearbox of the EC 225  was found near a manufacturing weld.

The report said: "The crew of the helicopter carried out a controlled ditching following indications of a failure of the main gearbox (MGB) lubrication system and, subsequently, a warning indicating failure of the emergency lubrication system."

So, not only did the MGB fail but the back-up lubrication system failed as well. So much for a run dry or run dry equivalent!

This is the third serious accident involving a Super Puma in the North Sea in that past couple of years: In February 2009, a Super Puma EC225 ditched in fog a short distance from a BP oil platform. All 18 people on board survived;   In April 2009, a Puma  suffered a catastrophic gearbox failure and crashed  killing all 16 people on board.

Offshore unions called for a helicopter safety group to be reconvened. Regional officer John Taylor said: "We cannot gamble with people's lives while questions remain unanswered."

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