Operators ‘convinced’ Eurocopter EC225 is safe to fly

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Operators in the North Sea region have responded "positively" to Eurocopter's efforts since the 10 May ditching of an EC225 operated by Bond Helicopters following an apparent failure of its main gearbox.

Derek Sharples, Eurocopter executive vice-president support and services, said: "They are encouraged, but demanding. They need to know that the aircraft is safe.

"They also want us to be as transparent as we can, and we have given them that up to the point that we can under the investigation."

Sharples says operators are "100% convinced" the type is safe to fly, despite the safety probe. The company will deliver four more EC225s into the region during the remainder of the year, he notes.

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Eurocopter

The Eurocopter EC225's reliability had been called in to question

Eurocopter has issued a revision to its operations manual, as part of an EASA emergency airworthiness directive covering the EC225, which requires the download of HUMS data after every four flight hours to spot any potential recurrence of the problem that appears to have caused the ditching.

Additional executives have been seconded to its Aberdeen logistics and training centre, including Jean-Pierre Dedieu, head of quality and support, and its team of technicians has expanded.

Sharples adds: "We felt it important to have the right blend of technical and operational experience there to deal with the key stakeholders."