After conversations with leading NHIndustries partner Airbus Helicopters the German Armed Forces put their NH90 helicopters back on duty, according to a written message Airheadsfly.com received from Airbus Helicopters on 23 February 2015. The Bundeswehr confirmed the statement.
Germany stopped routine flying operations with its NH90 helicopters on 6 February, after an apparent design flaw was found in the Overhead Control Panel (OHCP) in the cockpit that could lead to a short circuit and engine trouble. A major incident happened in Uzbekistan last year, when an engine exploded during a medevac flight. Back home the OHCP caused trouble at least on three or four separate occasions, according to Bundeswehr reports leaked to the German press.
Airbus Helicopters was quick in asking Berlin to return the helos back to flight status. The Bundeswehr has now complied: “The needed technical improvements to take away the fault have been developed by the manufacturer, but the implementation of the constructive change to all affected NH90s has not been executed yet.”
One of several adaptations in operational procedures is that the crew will vent before every engine start to prevent damage from occurring. “With that the risk of engine problems and related malfunctioning in the OHCP can be minimized,” the Bundeswehr states. With a permanent solution awaiting, the German Armed Forces leadership has regained enough confidence to clear the NH90s for normal flying operations. Other NH90 users might use venting-before-start as well to prevent worse.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A German Army Aviation (Heer) NH90 in flight (Image © Dennis Spronk)
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