NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Helicopter parts falling off 'not unsafe' says report

Damaged helicopter blade Image copyright AAIB
Image caption Rotor blade damage was found

Parts of a helicopter falling off during a flight - forcing it to turn back to Aberdeen - was not a safety risk, an investigation has found.

The Agusta-Westland left Aberdeen on 6 May last year with four crew on board.

An Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report said that as the helicopter climbed after departure the crew noticed an "unusual vibration".

After landing, a cable cover and a lightning bonding strip on a tail rotor blade were found to be missing.

An inspection of the other three blades found two more bonding strips were cracked.

Visual inspection

The damage was put down to fatigue.

The missing parts were not recovered.

The AAIB report said: "The manufacturer concluded that the occurrence was not safety related and EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) classified the event as 'not unsafe'.

"The requirement for a detailed visual inspection of the bonding strip will be added to maintenance tasks and the manufacturer is reviewing the manufacturing process."

As part of the investigation, the gearbox was also examined but nothing out of the ordinary was found.

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