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Existing helicopters not fitted with a crash-resistant fuel system

Issue number: AO-2013-055-SI-04
Who it affects: All owners and operators of aircraft not fitted with crash-resistant fuel systems
Issue owner: United States Federal Aviation Administration
Operation affected: Aviation: General aviation
Background: Investigation Report AO-2013-055
Date: 04 June 2015

Safety issue description

Many of the existing civil helicopter fleet are not fitted with a crash-resistant fuel system, or do not have an equivalent level of safety associated with post-impact fire prevention.

Proactive Action

Action organisation: United States Federal Aviation Administration
Date: 04 June 2015
Action status:

No response was received from the United States Federal Aviation Administration in relation to this safety issue, or advice given of any safety action in response.

Recommendation

Action organisation: United States Federal Aviation Administration
Action number: AO-2013-055-SR-028
Date: 04 June 2015
Action status: Released

The ATSB recommends that the United States Federal Aviation Administration take action to increase the number of existing helicopters that are fitted with a crash-resistant fuel system or have an equivalent level of safety in respect of post-impact fire.

Recommendation

Action organisation: European Aviation Safety Agency
Action number: AO-2013-055-SR-029
Date: 04 June 2015
Action status: Released

The ATSB recommends that the European Aviation Safety Agency take action to increase the number of existing helicopters that are fitted with a crash-resistant fuel system or have an equivalent level of safety in respect of post-impact fire.

ATSB response:

Advice from Airbus Helicopters
Although not in response to this accident, as part of their directly involved party response to the ATSB’s draft investigation report, Airbus Helicopters advised that a service bulletin detailing the retrofit of a crash-resistant fuel system (CRFS) to its AS350 B3/EC130 B4 model helicopters was available and in the progress of certification. Development of a technical solution to retrofit earlier AS350 B2 model helicopters with a CRFS had also commenced. Airbus Helicopters advised that once a retrofit was developed it would be possible to fit a CRFS to all AS350 models, since all early AS350 versions could be upgraded to B2 models via existing service bulletins.

Airbus Helicopters also advised that a CRFS was certified and available as an option for inclusion in newly-manufactured AS350 B3e model helicopters.

   
Current issue status: Safety action pending
 
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Last update 04 June 2015