Cougar replacing helicopter gearbox

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Cougar Helicopters will "proactively replace the gearbox" on the helicopter that had a cockpit indicator light go on while offshore earlier this week.

The company said the gearbox replacement on the Sikorsky S-92 model aircraft is to "fully ensure the fidelity of the gearbox."

It was decided a replacement would be necessary after communication with the helicopter's manufacturer.

Work on the aircraft is to be completed in the coming days.

"As per normal procedures following any maintenance action, the aircraft will undergo prescribed inspections and flight checks prior to returning to the flight line," a spokeswoman for Cougar Helicopters stated in an email to The Telegram.

"Cougar Helicopters, as continuously demonstrated, accepts nothing less than one hundred per cent performance in its equipment. Cougar makes no compromise regarding safety."

According to Sikorsky spokesman Paul Jackson, the light that came on aboard the helicopter "was not deemed an immediate flight safety risk." The current action comes following an examination of data on the aircraft from Sikorsky's Health and Usage Monitoring system.

The system involves onboard sensors relaying a stream of data - information about the aircraft - to the company.

It is Sikorsky's way of monitoring its helicopters around the world, to identify potential maintenance issues.

"We've taken swift action to fully ensure the fidelity of the gearbox by proactively ordering a full gearbox replacement," Jackson said Friday.

"Safety is of the utmost importance."

Cougar has said it does not believe there is any similar issue with the rest of the Sikorsky fleet currently being used for travel to and from the oil projects off Newfoundland and Labrador.

The helicopter about to lose its existing gearbox was grounded aboard the Terra Nova offshore production vessel on Wednesday.

A Cougar Helicopters technician was flown the approximately 350 kilometres from St. John's to the vessel to inspect the aircraft.

Following "prescribed inspections, maintenance and checks" overnight, the aircraft was certified as serviceable and flown back to St. John's Thursday morning.

An engineer and two crew were aboard the helicopter on its return to land.

Geographic location: St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Terra Nova

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Recent comments

  • William Daniels
    March 25, 2012 - 11:07

    Ms. Breen, Sorry for your loss. One of the more powerful posts I have ever read. Took guts.

  • Janet breen
    March 24, 2012 - 21:10

    " accepts nothing less than one hundred percent performance in it's equipment"!!! Well, they were not worried about that when my husband was killed on Cougar Flight 491!!!

  • William Daniels
    March 24, 2012 - 12:38

    Just finished reading the extremely vague incident notices on the CNLOPB website. We need an independent regulator now. The fact that this model of chopper is still being used is a disgrace.

    • heliboy
      March 26, 2012 - 19:03

      What is wrong with this model of chopper??? It is new and fully capable of the mission at hand.