FRANKFURT Oct 7 European safety regulators said
they had lifted a ban on commercial flights of helicopters
similar to a Super Puma that crashed in April after manufacturer
Airbus Helicopters contained a potential weakness
inside the gearbox.
The European Safety Aviation Agency said in a bulletin that
one of two configurations of planet gear inside the helicopter's
main gearbox had "higher operating stress levels" and that only
a more reliable, lower-stress configuration would now be used.
Combined with other controls, the new practice means "an
acceptable level of safety can be restored," EASA said.
However, it was not yet known whether the stress levels were
directly related to the crash that killed 13 people in April.
EASA grounded two models of Super Puma, the H225 LP and
AS332 L2, in June following the discovery of metal fatigue in
the gearbox of the helicopter which crashed in Norway.
Airbus Helicopters said on Friday it took note of EASA's
decision to lift the suspension and would help customers return
the aircraft to service "at the appropriate time". Following the
crash, UK and Norway imposed separate restrictions on flights.
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan, Tim Hepher; Editing by Alexander