Checking helicopters

November 5, 2002, 15:30 CET

All Super Puma L2 helicopters flying to and from Norwegian fields operated by Statoil have been grounded for technical checks.

That follows an incident earlier today, 5 November, when a machine of this type had to make a controlled emergency landing on a tanker.

A preliminary inspection of the helicopter concerned has revealed substantial damage to a main rotor blade, reports Thormod Hope, Statoil’s air transport vice president.

This appears to have been caused by a pendulum weight in the rotor head, which came loose and hit the blade. But it is too early to say anything specific about why that happened.

“In consultation with operator Norsk Helikopter, we’ve resolved to check the rotor system on all machines of this type flying to and from our fields,” says Mr Hope.

“This means that seven helicopters will be grounded for about 24 hours.”

That corresponds to half the fleet used to fly personnel to and from Statoil’s Norwegian fields, causing delays to crew. Mr Hope says alternative machines will be deployed as far as possible.

The grounded helicopters fly from Stavanger, Bergen and Kristiansund.