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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

AAIB Clarifies EC155B1 North Sea Incident

By Andrew Drwiega, International Bureau Chief

The August edition of the United Kingdom’s Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) bulletin included a correction to its report on EC155 B1 (OY-HJJ) which had a loss of control in the North Sea, November 6, 2013.

The summary of the incident from the AAIB is as follows:

“Shortly after takeoff from an off-shore platform at night, the helicopter entered a series of extreme pitch excursions which resulted in the airspeed reducing below 20 kt, followed by a descent. The flight crew were eventually able to recover to normal flight. The helicopter had descended to within approximately 50 feet of the sea surface. It was found that the helicopter’s flight path was consistent with inappropriate control inputs. The investigation concluded that a combination of technical and organizational factors had pre-disposed the flight crew to believing that the helicopter was not performing correctly, which led them to depart from normal operating parameters. This resulted in the crew rapidly becoming disorientated to the extent that their ability to control the helicopter safely was compromised. Several safety actions have been taken by the helicopter operator.”

The AAIB confirms that its classification was of a ‘serious incident’ not just an ‘incident.’ 

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