European safety authorities have lifted a precautionary grounding of Italian manufacturer Blackshape’s BS 115 and BK 160 trainer aircraft, following further investigation into two fatal accidents involving the type.

The grounding was ordered in March after an in-flight break-up involving a BK 160TR in Malaysia on 13 February, which prompted concerns that the aircraft had experienced structural failure of its wing.

But the European Union Aviation Safety Agency says the latest data from the Malaysian inquiry indicates the aircraft had “possibly been operated beyond [its] certified envelope”, and that it experienced stresses “above the ultimate loads”.

EASA has formally cancelled the grounding notice, as of 13 June, stating that the suspension is “not necessary anymore”.

BK 160TR-c-Blackshape Aircraft

Source: Blackshape Aircraft

Italian manufacturer Blackshape builds the single-engined BK 160TR

The Malaysian investigation has been exploring various avenues including safety concerns over modification and maintenance undertaken on the crashed aircraft.

Blackshape says the EASA decision is a “pivotal moment”, underscoring the “inherent safety and robustness” of the aircraft “when operated within the prescribed guidelines”.

Chief executive Niccolo Chierroni adds that the company is “always committed to advancing aviation safety and delivering the highest quality aircraft to our customers”.

EASA had also cited the unexplained fatal loss of a BK 160 in the Netherlands in June 2022, during which the aircraft descended rapidly from 5,000ft during a student pilot exercise.

It crashed into the Zwarte Meer lake. The Dutch Safety Board has been inspecting the wreckage in an effort to determine the reason for burn marks on various parts of the aircraft.