Twice in the space of one month Bel Air helicopters has lost aircraft windows in the North Sea during flight. Both incidents have been reported to transport authorities.
A helicopter of the type AgustaWestland 189 (AW 189) operated by Bel Air has two times in a month lost a window into the North Sea in connection with flights between Esbjerg Airport and oil platforms in the North Sea.
In both cases, no personnel were injured confirms Susanne Hessellund, owner of Bel Air.
It is of course a serious issue when something falls off a helicopter during flight, but neither incident presented any critical risk to the safety of the aircraft or the passengers. A window falling out does not present any danger to life as a helicopter cabin is not pressurised.
Susanne Hessellund advised that the first incident occurred about ten minutes after takeoff, after which the helicopter returned to Bel Air base in Esbjerg. Here, the customer was immediately informed and flight in all AW 189's were continued after all windows had been checked and the incident was reported to the Public Transport Authority.
On Monday the 21st of November it happened again, however this time the AW 189 with 16 passengers on board lost a window - on this occasion the cause of the accident was not the same as the first one.
The most recent incident occurred because a handle at the window was unintentionally pressed.
The first occasion however remains unexplained says Susanne Hessellund who indicated the organisation still has no idea why the window fell out mid flight.
The windows of the helicopter are designed to be ejected in the event of an emergency - such as a landing on water. Therefore the windows are sealed with enough strength to take the pressure of a passenger leaning against it, but weak enough pressure to allow the windows to be ejected in an emergency.
Confidence in the helicopter type
Bel Air has three helicopters of the type AW 189 and is also known as "fleet leader worldwide" on the helicopter type, which means that Bel Air is the company in the world that has logged the most hours with the type. The events have not caused Susanne Hessellund to lose confidence in the AW 189 model.
Bel Air fought a couple of years ago with theTransport Authority after several alleged violations of safety rules. This resulted in the organisation being placed under enhanced surveillance by the Public Transport Authority throughout 2015. According to Susanne Hessellund Mondays incident has been reported to the transport authorities.
Bel Air flies for a variety of large oil companies including Maersk Oil, Dong Energy and Hess.
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