THE pilot of a North Sea helicopter was forced to ditch his Super Puma in the sea because of a faulty oil warning light in his cockpit, a report by the government’s Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) has revealed.
• Initial warnings showed low pressure in the main and standby lubrication systems
• Faulty warning light suggested that the emergency gearbox lubrication system, which was being used for the first time, had failed
• AAIB report confirms that evidence indicated the emergency system had activated and remained working for the rest of the flight
• Recommendations made that Super Puma manufacturer Eurocopter reviews the design of its main lubrication system
The Bond-operated aircraft, with two crew and 12 passengers, ditched 25 miles east of
Aberdeen on 10 May after the crew noticed a low oil pressure warning. Two oilworkers suffered minor injuries.
An initial bulletin by the AAIB has revealed that the gearbox shaft of the Super Puma EC225 was cracked. The latest bulletin, issued by air accident investigators, has revealed that the oil pressure warning was false.
The report states: “The system had given the crew a false warning of system failure. This warning resulted in the crew ditching the helicopter in the sea”.
The pilot was forced to ditch his aircraft when the crew were presented with indications of low pressure in the main gearbox (MGB) and the stand-by oil lubrication systems.
The report states: “The crew activated the MGB emergency lubrication system and, following a subsequent warning indicating failure of that system, carried out a controlled ditching.”
But there was no evidence of lubrication leaks.