Kiwi NH90 choppers back in the air

A 48-hour pause on flying of the Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 medium utility helicopter fleet has ended and the fleet is again available to fly.

CAPTION: Australian Army soldiers from 131 Battery, Royal Australian Artillery, approach a Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopter during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023 at RAAF Base Townsville. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Ryan Howell.

The pause, which came into effect on Tuesday morning, followed the fatal crash of an Australian Army MRH-90 Taipan helicopter in the Whitsundays, off Queensland, last Friday night during Exercise Talisman Sabre.

The MRH-90 Taipan and NH90 are the same aircraft type.

Chief of the RNZAF Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark said the pause on flying of the eight New Zealand NH90 helicopters had been a precautionary approach.

“The pause was so the Air Force could conduct a risk assessment,” Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark said.

“That assessment looked at airworthiness and safety, including systems and processes, as well as any new information from the Australian Defence Force, other users and the manufacturer.

“We have not identified any new hazards or elevated risks that are not already considered within the RNZAF NH90 airworthiness framework.

“Accordingly, I have directed that the operating pause is lifted without any restrictions.”

New Zealand’s NH90s are operated by No. 3 Squadron based at Ohakea in Manawatū.

Three of the helicopters are currently deployed on Exercise Talisman Sabre in Australia and were not involved in Friday’s incident.


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Posted by Brian Hartigan

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

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