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UK grounds Voyager MRTTs

written by australianaviation.com.au | February 14, 2014
Six RAF Voyager KC2 & KC3s have been grounded. (UK MoD Crown Copyright)
Six RAF Voyager KC2 & KC3s have been grounded. (UK MoD Crown Copyright)

The UK Ministry of Defence has grounded the RAF’s Airbus Voyager KC2 and KC3 MRTTs following a sudden loss of altitude of one of their growing fleet on February 10.

The aircraft was reportedly flying at 38,000 feet during a transport mission from the UK to Afghanistan when it suddenly lost altitude over Turkey, and the pilot was forced to make a precautionary landing at Incirlik AB in that country’s southeast.

Unconfirmed reports indicate only those aircraft fitted with air-to-air refuelling systems and defensive suites were grounded, and that the single transport-only configured aircraft which is used for passenger and freight missions to the Falkland Islands and other places will remain flying.

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A Reuters report quoted an MoD statement which said the aircraft had suffered an “inflight issue”, adding that, “The safety of all our aircrews and passengers is our paramount concern, therefore, following this incident it has been decided to temporarily suspend military-registered Voyager flying while this is fully investigated.”

The RAF has ordered 14 Airbus A330-200-based Voyagers under private finance initiative through the AirTanker consortium which comprises Babcock, Cobham, Rolls-Royce and Thales.  The UK’s aircraft are only equipped with two or three hose and drogue refuelling points and no boom, and seven of the 14 aircraft had been delivered to the RAF by the end of January.

So far the grounding has not had any effect on RAAF KC-30A MRTT operations.

“No flight restrictions have not been placed on the RAAF KC-30A fleet as a result of the incident involving a Royal Air Force Voyager on 9 February 2014,” a Defence spokesman advised late on February 14. “The RAAF understands that the Royal Air Force is investigating this incident, and appropriate consideration will be given by the RAAF once findings are released. There is currently no information that would indicate that there is an airworthiness risk to the RAAF KC-30A.”

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6 Comments

  • Red Barron

    says:

    Ddin’t this same thing happen to a Qantas A330 off the coast of WA a few years ago?

  • Joe Gioffre

    says:

    If qantas had an A330 have a similar incident and Air France lost an A330 with all souls onboard it should be seen as something of significance that another A330 has also had possibly a similar event to the Qantas incident.
    I hope the investigation reveals the cause so we can ensure the airliner is safe or made safe. The magic of flybywire and all the other great additions to protect the aircraft and its precious cargo from human error may still have flaws and or we dont fully understand all aspects of the technology unfortunately.

    Regards

    Joe

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      I think you’ll find the Air France loss was attributed far more to a complete breakdown in CRM than
      to any fault with the aircraft.
      Cheers
      Andrew

  • Dane

    says:

    Is there any idea why it was just the tanker variant?

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      I think it’s because the Voyager KC2 & KC3s are covered by a military airworthiness authority, while the transport-only version without the tanking gear is on a civil airworthiness certificate. Only the MAA was suspended.
      Cheers
      Andrew

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UK grounds Voyager MRTTs

written by australianaviation.com.au | February 14, 2014
Six RAF Voyager KC2 & KC3s have been grounded. (UK MoD Crown Copyright)
Six RAF Voyager KC2 & KC3s have been grounded. (UK MoD Crown Copyright)

The UK Ministry of Defence has grounded the RAF’s Airbus Voyager KC2 and KC3 MRTTs following a sudden loss of altitude of one of their growing fleet on February 10.

The aircraft was reportedly flying at 38,000 feet during a transport mission from the UK to Afghanistan when it suddenly lost altitude over Turkey, and the pilot was forced to make a precautionary landing at Incirlik AB in that country’s southeast.

Unconfirmed reports indicate only those aircraft fitted with air-to-air refuelling systems and defensive suites were grounded, and that the single transport-only configured aircraft which is used for passenger and freight missions to the Falkland Islands and other places will remain flying.

Advertisement
Advertisement

A Reuters report quoted an MoD statement which said the aircraft had suffered an “inflight issue”, adding that, “The safety of all our aircrews and passengers is our paramount concern, therefore, following this incident it has been decided to temporarily suspend military-registered Voyager flying while this is fully investigated.”

The RAF has ordered 14 Airbus A330-200-based Voyagers under private finance initiative through the AirTanker consortium which comprises Babcock, Cobham, Rolls-Royce and Thales.  The UK’s aircraft are only equipped with two or three hose and drogue refuelling points and no boom, and seven of the 14 aircraft had been delivered to the RAF by the end of January.

So far the grounding has not had any effect on RAAF KC-30A MRTT operations.

“No flight restrictions have not been placed on the RAAF KC-30A fleet as a result of the incident involving a Royal Air Force Voyager on 9 February 2014,” a Defence spokesman advised late on February 14. “The RAAF understands that the Royal Air Force is investigating this incident, and appropriate consideration will be given by the RAAF once findings are released. There is currently no information that would indicate that there is an airworthiness risk to the RAAF KC-30A.”

PROMOTED CONTENT

6 Comments

  • Red Barron

    says:

    Ddin’t this same thing happen to a Qantas A330 off the coast of WA a few years ago?

  • Joe Gioffre

    says:

    If qantas had an A330 have a similar incident and Air France lost an A330 with all souls onboard it should be seen as something of significance that another A330 has also had possibly a similar event to the Qantas incident.
    I hope the investigation reveals the cause so we can ensure the airliner is safe or made safe. The magic of flybywire and all the other great additions to protect the aircraft and its precious cargo from human error may still have flaws and or we dont fully understand all aspects of the technology unfortunately.

    Regards

    Joe

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      I think you’ll find the Air France loss was attributed far more to a complete breakdown in CRM than
      to any fault with the aircraft.
      Cheers
      Andrew

  • Dane

    says:

    Is there any idea why it was just the tanker variant?

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      I think it’s because the Voyager KC2 & KC3s are covered by a military airworthiness authority, while the transport-only version without the tanking gear is on a civil airworthiness certificate. Only the MAA was suspended.
      Cheers
      Andrew

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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