European Regulators Order Safety Fixes for Airbus Helicopters

European aviation regulators have ordered enhanced inspections and, if necessary, replacement of certain crack-prone parts on thousands of widely used AS 350 and other choppers manufactured by Airbus Group SE.

The aim is to prevent potentially dangerous structural failures related to main gearbox covers or their attachments, and “consequent loss of the helicopter.”

Safety mandates issued Friday by the European Aviation Safety Agency cover main gearbox casings and related parts on certain versions of AS 350 helicopters, which are popular for law enforcement, air-ambulance services and commercial operations. Industry officials said the four directives are expected to ultimately affect more than 3,000 Airbus rotorcraft world-wide, including about 1,000 registered in the U.S., once regulators from other countries embrace the agency’s move.


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