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EC225 crash near Bergen, Norway April 2016

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EC225 crash near Bergen, Norway April 2016

Old 17th May 2016, 21:03
  #761 (permalink)  
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They also haven't come up with any evidence that it wasn't the gearbox that failed. However, a sobering picture of a full set of rotorblades 'gently' lowering themselves onto terra firma sans helicopter is evidence that something wasn't quite right!
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Old 17th May 2016, 21:05
  #762 (permalink)  
 
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After reading the initial report, the picture of the Suspension Bars look suspicious to me.
Someone has already stated this on here already but it is very interesting - something does not seem to add up.
The photograph of the detached rotorhead lying on the hillside with the suspension bar sticking up, shows NO bracket. We can then assume the bracket is still connected to the fuselage. However, in the report photographs, it shows the Suspension Bars, brackets and all pins in good condition. Now that is impossible! In order for the suspension bar to become seperated from the bracket (as we see in the rotor head picture as it was found) then either the bracket eye has broken releasing the bar, the pin has sheared releasing the bar or the bar ends have broken. NONE of these things have happened!? So how did it seperate if all components are present and correct?? And its unlikely the accident investigators removed them as some have previously suggested, as the other bar is still complete. Also the final photo of the report shows the suspended rotor head with bars attached - surely they would have re-instated the bracket for that photo if they had previously removed it? The only explanation is it has been incorrectly assembled, but even then if the pin did fall out, what are the chances of finding both the pin AND nappy pin in the wreckage? Either that or that is not the pin, nappy pin or bracket.....

Something doesn't add up here.
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Old 17th May 2016, 21:32
  #763 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Kawijet View Post
After reading the initial report, the picture of the Suspension Bars look suspicious to me.
Someone has already stated this on here already but it is very interesting - something does not seem to add up.
The photograph of the detached rotorhead lying on the hillside with the suspension bar sticking up, shows NO bracket. We can then assume the bracket is still connected to the fuselage. However, in the report photographs, it shows the Suspension Bars, brackets and all pins in good condition
I was wondering the same.
Indeed the bits and pieces in the preliminary report and the photo from the Rotor on the crash site don't fit together in that regard, obviously. Why? No idea.
I don't see how you would get an answer to that on here, though.
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Old 17th May 2016, 21:33
  #764 (permalink)  
 
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Old 17th May 2016, 21:50
  #765 (permalink)  
 
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Colibri

my question has always been largely rhetorical, because short of someone close to the investigation giving out this kind of information, I never really expected a direct answer.
It's a question that many of us have been asking since the accident.

The 225 in my world is only grounded by our helicopter operator. It's not grounded by EASA, Airbus or the regulator. It's also grounded by me, as the advisor who advises the company.

The grounding is causing us pain. Even after 20 days, there are massively divergent views. Some ask "why can't we fly it?" Some people never want to fly in it again and some crew never want to fly it again.

I suppose that there is still too much emotion and to few facts to make a balanced decision, so we maintain the status quo until the facts emerge.
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Old 17th May 2016, 22:21
  #766 (permalink)  
 
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Colibri

Agree.

The condition of Suspesion bar eye, bolt with pin in adidtion to the condition of bracket are main questions. Hopefully this will be clarified soon to indicate internal MGB failure or departure of the suspentson bar.
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Old 17th May 2016, 23:41
  #767 (permalink)  
 
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Advisors advise. Management make decisions.
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Old 18th May 2016, 00:04
  #768 (permalink)  
 
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Guys this gearbox has form.

It is entirely natural that the world wants to be reassured that the gearbox is not to blame. The AIBN are consumate professionals as are HS. The AIBN would not ground the aircraft unless they felt it was entirely necessary and HS would own up if they had discovered a blatant maintenance error.

The AIBN will have seen the barbecue plate, which will tell them much, they are wholly familiar with the circumstances of previous incidents. They will know if this machine had bee making metal.

If this was an obvious maintenance error with the suspension/lift bars they would have said so by now and lifted the ban.

Nobody wants to see comapnies ruined and hard working professionals destroyed, times are tough enough in the NS. So we need to trust these guys to do thier jobs. they are honest people and if they say no definititve conclusions can be drawn yet I am inclined to believe them.

I agree that the head needs to rule the heart, i first flew on a Puma in 1975 at Odiham and would be happy to do so again. I have a soft spot for this machine but recognise many do not. I'm not the customer or much more importantly his workforce.

The AIBN know that unless their report exonerates the gearbox the Pumas are utterly finished in the NS and the collateral damage will be enormous.

So they need to present an authoritative fact based presentation.

I'm afraid anyone wh thinks the Super Puma can survive another catastrophic gearbox fatality is in cloud cuckoo land.
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Old 18th May 2016, 00:18
  #769 (permalink)  
 
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Airbus Helicopters has, almost since day one, pointed their finger directly at a suspension bar mounting issue. All restrictions were lifted 48 hrs after incident. EASB 53A058 (3 May 2016) directives are focused on mounting issues only. Fact is, Airbus Helicopters is the expert and authority on the ec225 (and 332/L2).

Pressure must be mounting for the AIBN to provide some evidence to support their implied thesis, that accident's root cause is somehow related to manufacturing or design. No evidence provided thus far. Not even a teaser. Again - none.

It is also odd that the AIBN seems to be dancing around the suspension bar problematics:

- Where is the front suspension bar, is it missing?
- Where is the lower front mounting bolt and safety pins, are they missing?
- What is the state of the lower front mounting bracket? undamaged, damaged, missing?
- Is damage of the suspension bars and brackets consistent with REDL? or is there a clear difference?
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Old 18th May 2016, 00:31
  #770 (permalink)  
 
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Agreed.

This information is vital and will have to enter the public domain.

The delay is unfortunate as if there is a specific, entirely unrelated cause to previous incidents it is important it is made public asap. Every day that goes by will harm the prospects of the aircraft and operators
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Old 18th May 2016, 00:58
  #771 (permalink)  
 
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I'm afraid anyone wh thinks the Super Puma can survive another catastrophic gearbox fatality is in cloud cuckoo land.
At the end of the day, the Super Puma series may have just run out of lives.

Even the 225 and L2 CFIT ditchings count.

Being pragmatic about the latest incident may not really matter anymore....can't erase that picture of the rotor flying off.

My last post on this.

Last edited by letmein; 18th May 2016 at 01:19.
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Old 18th May 2016, 01:43
  #772 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Kawijet View Post
And its unlikely the accident investigators removed them as some have previously suggested, as the other bar is still complete.
..
but even then if the pin did fall out, what are the chances of finding both the pin AND nappy pin in the wreckage? Either that or that is not the pin, nappy pin or bracket.....

Something doesn't add up here.
As I see it the only possible explanation is that the investigators removed them. As you're stating, if they weren't removed they would have been deformed/broken in som way unless they were never installed. I don't think that the bracket is connected on one bar "proves" that the other one wasn't complete, they clearly must have removed either the lower or the upper end (or both) on the suspension bar that is unconnected in both ends. As I see it it's clear that they have removed the pins on some of the four suspension ends in question, so I don't understand why they wouldn't have removed them on all the 3 unconnected ends. I think it's more likely that there's an issue with the one that's still connected, that it is bent or distorted in a way that makes removal impossible without force.

As for the front suspension bar we really have no other information than that the top mounting broke. I think it's very unlikely that it has broken more than one place, and the front suspension bar has probably stayed attached to the airframe. I'm guessing they only showed the part of the front suspension bar that "is of any interest" - where it has given way.

Either way, it's important to remember that in what state these were found is only a mystery to us. The AIBN knows if they were found mounted or not, which makes me believe that it can't be a "simple explanation" like missing nappy pins. If that were the case, AIBN wouldn't be in any doubt if the accident was due to the some kind of suspension bar failure or rotational lock up. For this to be an "open case" things must seemingly have been correcly put together and the question is if some kind of fatigue/crack or otherwise non-obvious problem with the suspension failed and caused the damage to the gears as the break up was happening, or if something locked up and the momentum in the rotor broke the suspension.

Given that the rotor seemed to still rotate at a high speed in the video and that the damage to the blades are relatively modest, I'd say that the most likely scenario is that something locked up. If the suspension failed causing the rotor to hit the tail or some similar scenario, I'd think that the blades would either be "shaved off" and/or the rotor would have lost a lot of momentum. I don't know enough about the strength in the blades, their attachement or the material in the tail to speculate how that would play out, but a considerable amont of "braking" would have had to happen to break the planet gear. I think this force would have been visible on the rotor and blades.
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Old 18th May 2016, 01:45
  #773 (permalink)  
 
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Airbus Helicopter Technical exec Dumont addressed AHS today, appropriately brief speech and with condolences and respect. Only meaningful comment was that they deliver a machine 10 years ago, it crashes, and they have no history of anything it did in between.


Other industry execs chimed in that manufacturers need a committed customer as a willing partner in order to get "Big Data".
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Old 18th May 2016, 03:14
  #774 (permalink)  
 
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It now is obvious that the lower strut bracket was removed by them where the rotor landed. Somewhere under the rotor was the second strut with the thin silver metal band around it.
They have not disturbed that in all the photos, left it attached to its lower bracket .
The brackets and pins are very important evidence, who knows how long the rotor was going to lay there until it was moved. With the bracket sticking up in the air and easy to remove by sliding one pin, maybe they filmed it in detail then decided it was safer to have it in a ziplock bag and labeled and under their control. Not waiting for someone to wander by and possibly disturb it. Makes perfect sense to me now after seeing all the 5 pins. No other explanation covers the facts.
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Old 18th May 2016, 05:18
  #775 (permalink)  
 
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The biggest danger would be if the facts remain on the seabed, because then the decisions will become irrational. Thus, the bandwidth would be that an insinuated 2nd case ‘G – REDL’ the SUPER PUMA will not survive and to wait for a 3rd case is absolutely prohibited!Inevitably the success story of Super Puma was canceled by the offshore crash series within the last years to a discontinued model and the resulting lean spell is for the account and risk of Airbus Helicopters.

In 1974, Aérospatiale commenced the development of the new medium transport helicopter SUPER PUMA AS332 based on its SA 330 Puma going back to 1965 and the project was publicly announced at the 1975 Paris Air Show.

40 years later at the 2015 Paris Airshow, Airbus announced the launch of a development program to build the X6 helicopter that would replace the Super Puma in 2022 - 2023 and will have a military variant delivered in 2030.
Compared to AgustaWestland and Sikorsky, Airbus has slept through a whole generation of helicopters, which already flies in civil and military markets.
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Old 18th May 2016, 05:19
  #776 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by letmein View Post
Airbus Helicopters has, almost since day one, pointed their finger directly at a suspension bar mounting issue. All restrictions were lifted 48 hrs after incident. EASB 53A058 (3 May 2016) directives are focused on mounting issues only. Fact is, Airbus Helicopters is the expert and authority on the ec225 (and 332/L2).

Pressure must be mounting for the AIBN to provide some evidence to support their implied thesis, that accident's root cause is somehow related to manufacturing or design. No evidence provided thus far. Not even a teaser. Again - none.

It is also odd that the AIBN seems to be dancing around the suspension bar problematics:

The problem is, if the investigation

- Where is the front suspension bar, is it missing?
- Where is the lower front mounting bolt and safety pins, are they missing?
- What is the state of the lower front mounting bracket? undamaged, damaged, missing?
- Is damage of the suspension bars and brackets consistent with REDL? or is there a clear difference?
The AIBN don't ground aircraft, that rests with regulators, Norwegian CAA, UK CAA, EASA etc. National authorities within EASA can, if the feel the action is justified, ground an aircraft type regardless of what EASA decides.

I would suggest that the grounding orders are in place as a result of what is know about the accident, rotor seperation etc and previous events on the 225 and 332L2. regardless of AH's product knowledge they can only advise the investigators and regulators. AH can say what they want but at the end of the day they have to convince the regulators that there is a good enough case to "un-ground" the fleet
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Old 18th May 2016, 07:58
  #777 (permalink)  
 
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I agree with what you guys say - It MUST have been removed by the investigators but if so why? If the bracket was there and had all the components then why would they feel the need to remove it? The proof that it was still attached before the crash would be there so removing it would be pointless. I hope you are right and they photographed it in place and the removal of it.

It just seems strange that AH are keen to say it is not a mechanical at this early stage - that is a crazy thing for them to do, reputation wise, if it turns out to be a mechanical fault!

Another interesting point - the engine intake screen was found far from the main wreckage before the crash site ("Air inlet screen" - accident report map),. Could it be possible that, if one of the rear struts did infact detach, the rotorhead pitched forward and the blades struck the nose and front engine cowlings/intake screens before becoming fully detached?

Please note I am just venting my thoughts on here and speculating, not directly asking for answers.
I know the investigation is on going and will take some time to complete.
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Old 18th May 2016, 09:55
  #778 (permalink)  
 
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This from the "AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT REPORT 2/2011" for the "Report on the accident to
Aerospatiale (Eurocopter) AS332 L2 Super Puma, registration G-REDL 11 nm NE of Peterhead, Scotland on 1 April 2009"
1.12.3.4 Main Rotor Gearbox main module
The gearbox, (serial number M2092) had remained attached to the airframe by the flexible mounting plate, which is designed to react the gearbox torque. The mounting plate had sustained little damage in the accident. This observation was pertinent in that it helped to exclude the possibility of a lift strut failure as being a primary cause of the accident, since such an event would transfer lift loads, via the gearbox, into the mounting plate causing obvious distortion.
Someone mentioned that the same applies to this accident, the BBQ plate does not show evidence of stress that supports the suspension bar failure theory. Can this be confirmed? Does not look so from the photo below.


Last edited by aheoe26104; 18th May 2016 at 10:50. Reason: Add Photo of BBQ plate below MRGB
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Old 18th May 2016, 11:29
  #779 (permalink)  
 
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by the way, any "rotor detachment" is absolutely unacceptable!
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Old 18th May 2016, 11:39
  #780 (permalink)  
 
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I´ve been flying Puma family since my first job as a pilot (SA330J, A332L2 and EC225).
I´d like to stay flying them... They are good machines, but I have to say that, whatever the main reason have been, it is unacceptable a rotor separation in flight!
Just to remember Boeing 234 and WG30!!! I think Airbus must have good answers to the industry asap!!!
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