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H225 LN-OJF 

H225 LN-OJF 

Accident investigation status

A message from Gilles Bruniaux, Head of Aviation Safety

FAL H225

Safety has been the core concern of my life. As Head of Aviation Safety at Airbus Helicopters, competition takes a back seat to considerations of excellence in all aspects of flight safety. It is the cornerstone of customer confidence.

My priority is to coordinate this quest for safety across the flying spectrum by working closely with customers, suppliers, manufacturers and key organisations such as the International Helicopter Safety Team and HeliOffshore, two of the key global bodies working to ensure flight safety.

In our drive to improve safety standards and practices worldwide, the company also promotes the Airbus Helicopters Safety Partnership. This collaborative platform enables Airbus Helicopters to take advantage of the experience and knowledge of the professionals who fly and maintain the aircraft daily, to enhance safety and performance.

Since April last year, my team and I have been supporting the Accident Investigation Board in Norway in their enquiries. Airbus Helicopters is committed to creating a joint approach to safety by working with customers, partners and suppliers. Safety begins with each job we perform as part of our daily work.

Gilles Bruniaux, Head of Aviation Safety

Ongoing investigation

Investigative bodies are working together to understand the LN-OJF accident.

  • The AIBN (Accident Investigation Board Norway) is conducting and leading the investigation into what happened with the aim of preventing accidents and incidents. AIBN nominate an Investigator In Charge.
  • The BEA (French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety) represents the State of Manufacture and nominates an Accredited Representative.
  • Airbus Helicopters acts as a Technical Advisor to the BEA. In this role, Airbus Helicopters supports the BEA and AIBN by conducting thorough technical research and analysis, in total transparency with both investigative bodies.
  • The European Aviation Safety Agency is also involved and is responsible, with Airbus Helicopters, for defining and implementing any and all necessary safety measures to ensure the flight safety.

Summary of H225 LN-OJF investigation

Summary of findings

The exhaustive analysis conducted to identify the initiating event of the accident in Norway began on 29 April 2016 and remains ongoing.

The following findings have come to light:

  • The AIBN found fatigue failure of a planet gear in the second stage of the epicyclic module of the main gear box (MGB) as the event that caused the accident. The AIBN also found that the monitoring system was unable to detect the failure.
  • A crack located in the planet gear bearing outer race in the epicyclic module spread into the rim of the gear, causing it to break, which then led to main rotor separation.

The investigation has revealed new information which had remained unknown after the 2009 AS332 accident and has now enabled Airbus Helicopters to implement a set of more comprehensive protective measures. Four protective measures have been established and approved by the EASA:

  • A design change using only one type of planet gear.
  • A set of strengthened monitoring and inspection measures to detect very small debris caused by spalling.
  • The withdrawal from service of any MGB involved in an ‘unusual event’. (The LN-OJF MGB had been involved in a road accident in 2015. Although no proven link is established with the Norway accident, as a precaution, all MGBs involved in such an incident are not being flown.)
  • A reduction in the number of allowable flight hours before planet gear and bearing replacement to further reduce the risk of part failure by fatigue.

We understand the sequence of events that led to the fatigue fracture, but the exact cause is still being investigated. A set of protective measures have been implemented to ensure all potential causes for the failure are addressed and that the fleet is safe to fly.

Third-party statements and reports

Third-party statements and reports regarding the accident investigation can be found on the following websites:

European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)
Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN)
UK Civil Aviation Authority
Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority (Luftfartsilsynet) 
 
 

Airbus accident statements

Airbus has published official statements throughout the investigation process. The archive can be found here:
View statements 

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LN-OJF accident investigation status

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