All Tiger helicopters grounded

The safety of every Tiger helicopter around the world has been put under a cloud following a fatal crash in Africa on July 26.

FILE PHOTOCraftsman Hayden Bermicham (left) and Craftsman Rhys Johannessen take the cover off an Australian Army Tiger helicopter. Photo by Corporal Max Bree.

One of four German-army Tiger helicopters deployed on a peacekeeping mission in Mali crashed after it lost its main rotor blades while flying at around 2000 feet, killing both pilots.

What caused the blades to seperate from the aircraft has not yet been determined.

Last Friday, after preliminary investigations, Tiger manufacture Airbus Helicopters put out a safety bulletin basically saying that they had not yet identified a part or a reason for the blades to separate from the aircraft.

Because of that, they could not say whether it was a design or a manufacturing fault or a maintenance error that caused the crash.

Consequently, the statement inferred, Airbus Helicopters was not in a position to propose a solution that would prevent further crashes.

While the statement did not specifically ‘ground’ all Tiger helicopters, operators were left in a position where, when the manufacturer couldn’t guarantee the safety of the equipment, they had little other choice.

This includes Australia’s beleaguered fleet of 22 Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters.

A Defence spokesman told CONTACT this afternoon, “On 14 August 2017, Defence decided to cease flying operations of the Australian Tiger fleet until further information becomes available”.

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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