Clutha Helicopter Crash Findings ‘Highlight Information Gaps’

Use Of Flight Data And Cockpit Voice Recording Equipment On Passenger Flights ‘Should Be Standard’

10.12.2013

Lawyers representing victims and families who have lost loved ones in plane and helicopter crashes across the globe have said the latest findings related to The Clutha crash in Glasgow demonstrate the need for Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) equipment to be fitted to helicopters used for passenger flights.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch’s (AAIB’s) initial findings in relation to the November 29th crash in which nine people died found no evidence of major engine or gearbox failures on the Police Scotland helicopter involved, despite the fact that its main and tail rotors did not appear to be rotating when it impacted with the pub roof.

In addition, the preliminary report also revealed the aircraft had around 95 litres of fuel on board. The AAIB added that “detailed examination of the helicopter continues”.

The release of the findings have been welcomed by Irwin Mitchell's Aviation Law team, which represents victims of helicopter crashes across the globe including the two recent  Eurocopter crashes off the coast of Shetland in August this year and into the North Sea in October of last year.

Expert Opinion
It is shocking that a modern twin engine helicopter has rapidly lost rotor speed and plunged into a city, yet the air accident investigators don't have the key evidence from a FDR and CVR to assist them."

"This prompt Special Bulletin from the AAIB is very welcome, but only serves to demonstrate our view that FDRs and CVRs should be fitted as standard in passenger-carrying helicopters which fly in UK airspace."

"In a case like this, information from an FDR and CVR could prove vital to quickly identify what has caused the accident.

"This would assist the Air Accident Investigators and enable the aviation industry and authorities to take early steps to improve safety standards where required."
Jim Morris, Partner