The 23 August fatal accident involving a Super Puma could not have come at a worse time for Eurocopter.
Barely a month had elapsed since the European Aviation Safety Agency gave the green light to the manufacturer's road map for returning its EC225s to service when the AS332L2 - an older member of the Super Puma line - went down off the Shetland Isles to the north of Scotland.
Cue what Dominique Maudet, executive vice-president for global business and services at the Marseille-headquartered airframer, describes as a "very intensive week" in Aberdeen. Acutely aware of the sensitivity around the topic, Eurocopter immediately despatched a senior team, including chief executive Guillaume Faury and chief technical officer Jean-Brice Dumont, to the Scottish oil industry centre.
Early Eurocopter statements were also keen to stress that the company and its executives were "deeply saddened" by the loss of four lives in the crash.
More broadly, Maudet says its approach has been "to react in a professional way and see ... how we can improve the confidence of the operators and their customers in the Super Puma".
Although it appears increasingly unlikely that a technical issue with the helicopter or its engines precipitated the accident, Eurocopter still faces a challenge to reassure nervous passengers of the safety of its aircraft.
The company's problem, of course, is its recent track record. The two gearbox-related ditchings last year that prompted a ban of overwater flights with the EC225, and the 2009 fatal involving another AS332L2, have rendered the company vulnerable to all sorts of allegations regarding aircraft safety, regardless of whether they are true or not.
In the immediate aftermath of the accident, there were concerns expressed that it was caused by a similar issue to last year's May and October ditchings of the EC225. In addition to the fact that the AS332 had become something of a backstop in the absence of its big brother, there was the troubling possibility - however remote - that the months and months of work spent analysing the EC225's drivetrain had overlooked something.
However, as Les Linklater, team lead at Step Change in Safety - the organisation behind the Helicopter Safety Steering Group - notes, those at the sharp end of the industry felt that the two issues were unlikely to be linked. He points out that nine months of work went into discovering the root cause of the EC225's faults and coming up with a fix and as such it is "the most scrutinised helicopter flying". That scrutiny extends to the HSSG's independent verification of Eurocopter's studies on the type. "That work still stands," he adds.
Eurocopter, too, retained its confidence in the EC225. "We had been working for so long and with so many people and experts that it never entered our minds that we might have missed something," says Maudet.
"Although it is important to be humble when you have had an accident involving one of your helicopters, we could not imagine with all the months of work we had done that it was something that we had missed."
The bigger challenge, however, remains to convince the workforce that its helicopters are safe, both in terms of airworthiness and that the internal configuration allows safe emergency egress.
As such, it will participate in the HSSG's planned inquiry into offshore transportation safety. "We will look at whatever modifications we can make in the short and medium term to better cope with passenger comfort, especially compared with other aircraft," Maudet adds.