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Investigators find defects in crashed Bristow Helicopter flight recorders


BristowAccident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has released a preliminary report on a Bristow helicopter that crashed in February, finding defects in the helicopter’s two recording systems.

One of the faulty systems, Faerito image recorder, “is understood to be the first accident damaged recorder of this type”.Spokesperson for the AIB, Tunji Oketunbi, yesterday told The Guardian that the faulty recorder, however, had nothing to do with safety and operations of the ill-fated flight.

Oketunbi said investigators had retrieved all necessary information from the recorders and they would help in further investigations.While the actual cause of the accident is yet to be known, the investigators will carry out evaluation on the aircraft approved maintenance programme; determination of the helicopter maintenance history and detailed reconstruction of flight based on recorded data.

Others on the checklists are analysis of the helicopter performance in relation to cyclic, collective and yaw stabilization control; investigative testing of all Stabilization Augmentation System (SAS), Trim

Actuators; interview of relevant personnel of the operator and further physical observation and electrical continuity and insulation resistance checks on the cable looms of both auto-pilot, cyclic, collective and yaw control channels among others.

The helicopter, according to the investigators, was fitted with a Multi Purpose Flight Recorder (MPFR), which represents the Cockpit Voice Recorder/Flight Data Recorder (CVR/FDR).

However, a separate Faerito Avionics Recorder (Cockpit Image Recorder (CIR) was also installed in the helicopter to augment the CVR and FDR. The recorders were retrieved when the aircraft was recovered from the ocean in good condition and sent to Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB), United Kingdom (UK) and were successfully downloaded and are now being analyzed.

It would be recalled that the Sikorsky S-76C++ Helicopter, with registration number 5N BQJ, belonging to Bristow Helicopters Nigeria Limited crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on February 3, 2016. Emergency responders rescued onboard nine passengers and two crew members alive and without major injuries.

Preliminary findings confirmed that: “the flight crew were certified and qualified to conduct the flight in accordance with applicable Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig. CARs).“The Captain and Co-pilot had 2497:45 and 852:00 hours on aircraft type, respectively.

The helicopter was maintained in accordance with approved maintenance schedule. “The helicopter was manufactured in 2007 with total Airframe Hours of 6,837:85 5. The flight departed from the ERHA FPSO (Floating Production Storage Off-loading) Oil Platform.’’

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