Monday, September 5, 2016

Clutha tragedy may have been caused by mechanical fault and not pilot error: Eurocopter EC 135T2+, Bond Air Services opf. Police Scotland, G-SPAO, fatal accident occurred November 29, 2013 in Glasgow, United Kingdom

A section of the preliminary report into the Clutha crash in November 2013 had argued the disaster could have been due to mechanical failures, not pilot error.

The document, which did not feature in the final version of the investigation report, has highlighted the possibility of technical issues playing its part in the tragedy.

Earlier this year, it had been suggested that pilot David Traill had ignored a low fuel signal, which may have contributed to the helicopter coming down on the Glasgow pub, claiming 10 lives.

However, it is said that a fault in the aircraft’s fuel system may have provided the pilot with conflicting information.

A preliminary report from the Air Accident Investigation Branch found contributory factors such as a leak of water and washing fluid into the fuel tank.

As a result, the pilot may have been given an unreliable fuel reading and therefore thought he had more time in the air.

The initial report was sent to Police Scotland along with operators Bond Air Services and manufacturers Airbus Helicopters.

In their official report, crash investigators said the pilot turned off fuel pumps and ignored low fuel warnings.

However, the earlier dossier said that a “fuel caution” light “may not have illuminated”.

This is different to the “low fuel” warning which measures fuel supply in a different way.

Manufacturers Airbus Helicopters refused to discuss the information, while Police Scotland declined to comment.


Aircraft Accident Report AAR 3/2015 - G-SPAO, 29 November 2013:

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) was notified at 2259 hrs on 29 November 2013 that a helicopter had crashed through the roof of The Clutha Vaults Bar, in the centre of the city of Glasgow. A team of AAIB Inspectors and support staff arrived in Glasgow at 0915 hrs the following morning to commence an investigation.

In accordance with established international arrangements, the Bundesstelle für Flugunfalluntersuchung (BFU) of Germany, representing the State of Design and Manufacture of the helicopter, the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation Civile (BEA) of France, representing the State of Design and Manufacture of the engines, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of the USA, representing the State of Design and Manufacture of the Full-Authority-Digital-Engine-Controls (FADECs) on the engines, appointed Accredited Representatives to participate in the investigation. They were supported by advisors from the helicopter manufacturer, the BEA and the engine manufacturer. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the helicopter operator also assisted the AAIB.

The investigation was conducted under the provisions of Regulation EU 996/2010 and the UK Civil Aviation (Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents) Regulations 1996.

NTSB Identification: CEN14WA073
14 CFR Non-U.S., Non-Commercial
Accident occurred Friday, November 29, 2013 in Glasgow, United Kingdom
Aircraft: EUROCOPTER EC135, registration:
Injuries: 9 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On November 29, 2013, at 2222 universal coordinated time (UTC), a United Kingdom registered EC-135 T2 helicopter, G-SPAO, impacted a public house near Glasgow, United Kingdom. The crew of three in the helicopter and six other persons were fatally injured.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the government of the United Kingdom. Further information may be obtained from:

Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB)
Farnborough House
GU11 2HH United Kingdom

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