Within the careful language of air accident investigation reports, it is rare to find much in the way of direct criticism; here safety recommendations take the place of finger pointing.

However, the latest report from the Norwegian probe into the fatal 2016 crash of an Airbus Helicopters H225 seems to offer a measured sideswipe at the sector.

Faced with an accident that bears a horrifying similarity to one in 2009, it is almost incredulous: how and why, it asks, could two similar catastrophes happen to almost identical helicopters only seven years apart?

It seems to be particularly concerned that lessons and recommendations from the crash of G-REDL may not have been properly absorbed.

Of course, with hindsight, it is easy to pinpoint where responses were lacking. And Airbus Helicopters and European regulators can legitimately claim they could not have legislated for unknowns.

But it seems clear that opportunities were missed. The frankly startling revelation that parts sourced from one of two suppliers have a failure rate three times as high as the alternative is troubling; that no one thought to analyse this data before last year’s Norway crash is almost beyond belief.

Yes, the H225 complies with all the certification requirements, but that begs the difficult question as to whether those standards are still fit for purpose.

Source: Flight International