Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling has told media at the Farnborough Airshow in the UK that the catastrophic engine failure experienced by an Australian Army MRH 90 helicopter near Adelaide on April 20 was caused by an incorrect hot start procedure.
“We know now precisely the sequence that the engines have seen it their history – all the engines had seen an improper procedure for a hot start,” a report in Shepherds’ quoted Bertling as saying. “In all cases the improper procedure was done in the same way and if you do so then you see damage to bearings and seals in the engine.”
The 11 MRH 90s delivered to date have remained grounded since the incident but the ADF is believed to be close to returning the machines to the air.
Bertling confirmed that aircraft that had not been subject to the “improper procedure” had been cleared to fly. “All engines that have seen the procedure will be removed from the aircraft and inspected – if there is an issue or not. And I need to say that of the engines that have had a wrong hot start procedure it is only a very small percentage that have had damage to them.”
The report says a software patch had been developed for the engines to prevent the incorrect start sequence recurring.