Eurocopter’s EC225 – a derivative of the Super Puma – is set to return to flight after main gear box shaft failures on two EC225s in the North Sea during 2012 forced the grounding of the aircraft.
The airworthiness suspension will be lifted this month following approval by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and UK CAA of prevention and detection measures developed by Eurocopter for the twin-engine helicopter. Also validated by EASA are Eurocopter modifications to the EC225’s main gearbox emergency lubrication system that ensure its full performance throughout the flight envelope.
“I am convinced that the designed and approved measures are the right ones, allowing a safe return to service of the entire fleet,” said Guillaume Faury, Eurocopter CEO. “Eurocopter’s teams remain entirely mobilised to support our customers in the return to service and full availability of their EC225s. Together, we are committed to a shared priority – safety first.”
The grounding badly affected North Sea offshore oil and gas transportation missions, while some countries, including Australia, didn’t formally ground the aircraft. Locally, operators Bristow and CHC elected not to fly the EC225 until satisfactory corrective measures were implemented by Eurocopter.