GLASGOW HELICOPTER CRASH REPORT NOT EXPECTED UNTIL MID-2015
by Elan Head
One year after a Police Scotland helicopter crashed through the roof of a pub in Glasgow, killing 10, investigators are nearing completion of a draft final report on the accident, but don’t expect to release a final report until mid-2015.
In a progress update issued on Friday, the United Kingdom Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) confirmed that the investigation team is now in a position to reach its conclusions, following a lengthy investigation process that was complicated by the lack of recorded flight data for the aircraft.
“The helicopter was not fitted and not required to be fitted with crash-protected flight data or cockpit voice recorders and its systems did not provide for the continuous recording of operational parameters,” the update states. “As a result, significant work was required to extract and analyze the contents of non-volatile memory from micro-chipped equipment known to record data.”
Although the AAIB anticipates completion of a draft final report within “several weeks,” this draft will then be circulated to “interested parties” for comment in early 2015. “The final report is expected to be published in the middle of 2015,” the update states.
The aircraft, an Airbus Helicopters EC135 T2+, was being operated for Police Scotland by Bond Air Services. Earlier this year, the AAIB published a special bulletin on the accident, indicating that the EC135 experienced a double engine flameout, after which the pilot failed to successfully achieve an autorotative descent and flare. The fuel supply tanks for each engine were empty or nearly empty, despite 76 kilograms of fuel remaining in the aircraft’s main tank.
According to the bulletin, investigators found that the No. 1 and 2 prime pump switches for the supply tanks — which are normally used for starting — were set to the ON position, while the fore and aft transfer pump switches for the main tank —which are typically ON for flight — were set to OFF. All pumps were tested and found to operate correctly, and the aircraft’s engines and fuel control units also appeared to be serviceable.