A US safety watchdog has ordered North Sea helicopter operators to make safety upgrades due to false fire warnings that could result in an “unnecessary emergency landing or ditching”.
The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered the installation a number two engine flame detector bracket assembly and harness assembly on all Sikorsky S92 aircraft.
Since the grounding of the UK Super Puma fleet last year the S92 has become a popular replacement, accounting more than half of all flying aircraft.
The move to fit the safety upgrade was prompted by reports of false fire warnings, the watchdog said in a new Airworthiness Directive.
The upgrade should be carried out within 180 hours of time in service.
According to the FAA dockets, Sikorsky attributed the root cause of the false fire warnings to micro pin fretting at the bayonet connection between the sensor and wire harness.
The helicopter manufacturer consequently developed a new harness to increase stability and reduce the component wear.