The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will amend its operational restriction on the Super Puma following publication of an airworthiness directive by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) yesterday.
The aircraft will be permitted to return to service once the requirements of the EASA directive are met. These are detailed in the airworthiness directive available on the EASA website http://ad.easa.europa.eu
EASA is the body responsible for the certification and airworthiness of helicopters throughout Europe and has agreed a set of modifications and inspections with Eurocopter.
The CAA says that it has been kept informed of the work to develop the airworthiness directive and has also maintained a close dialogue with the Air Accident Investigation Branch, that is investigating the two UK EC225 ditchings in 2012 that led to the original operating restrictions. The CAA has been liaising directly with the three UK Super Puma operators, and with the joint industry Helicopter Safety Steering Group throughout the period of the operating restrictions.
The organisation has also been working closely with the Norwegian aviation authority, which introduced similar restrictions, as well as the Danish aviation authority, to ensure a coordinated approach to offshore safety and operations.
As a result of the modifications and inspections required by EASA the CAA has determined that the restrictions placed on the operation of an affected Super Puma can now be lifted, subject to the requirements of the airworthiness directive and manufacturer guidance being met on that aircraft. The CAA will amend its safety directive, which sets out the restrictions, accordingly. The safety directive will remain in force for those aircraft that do not meet the required standards but will be revoked once they are compliant.