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H225 helicopters face engine safety issue

Operators of the Airbus Helicopters H225 are facing a fresh safety issue, this time focused on the heavy-twin’s Safran Helicopter Engines Makila 2 powerplants.

European safety regulators are mandating, via an emergency airworthiness directive, the replacement of certain bevel gears in the engine’s number one module.

The move follows the in-flight shutdown of a Makila turboshaft, says the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

“Subsequent investigations identified rupture of several teeth of the module 1 bevel gear, due to fatigue propagation,” says EASA.

This was traced to a manufacturing fault afflicting a batch of the components, it says.

If not addressed, the problem could lead to a “further in-flight shutdown, possibly resulting in reduced control of the helicopter or total loss of power”.

Operators with two affected engines must replace the part or powerplant before the helicopter’s next flight, says the safety directive.

Those with only one non-compliant engine should replace it within 100 flight hours or 12 months.

H225s in the second group are, however, subject to a heightened inspection regime.

The Super Puma family has only recently begin to recover from a fatal accident in 2016 in which thirteen passengers and crew were killed, caused by the catastrophic in-flight failure of an H225’s main gearbox.

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