Leicester City helicopter crash: Safety checks ordered

Media caption,
The widely shared footage shows the helicopter taking off

Safety checks have been ordered on helicopters of a similar design to the one involved in a crash which killed the owner of Leicester City.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued an emergency Airworthiness Directive focusing on the tail rotor of the AW169.

Club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others died in the crash at the King Power stadium on 27 October.

The safety checks are described as a "precautionary measure".

Image caption,
(L-R): Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Kaveporn Punpare, Nusara Suknamai, Izabela Roza Lechowicz and Eric Swaffer died in the crash

The AgustaWestland AW169, manufactured by Italian aerospace company Leonardo, has not been involved in any recorded accidents before, and the EASA directive emphasises the cause of the crash has not been identified.

It states: "While the helicopter was on a take-off phase at low forward speed, a loss of yaw control has been observed.

"As a precautionary measure, Leonardo issued ASB 169-120 for AW169 helicopters to provide inspection instructions to check correct installation of the tail rotor (TR) servo-actuator."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
A huge number of tributes have been left outside the club's stadium

Servo-actuators are part of the tail rotor flight control system and play a vital part in maintaining stability of the aircraft.

The directive says inspections are to be carried out within 24 hours or within five flight hours, whichever occurs first.

It adds: "The incorrect installation of the TR servo-actuator, if not detected and corrected, depending on the flight condition, could possibly result in loss of control of the helicopter."

The results of inspections should be reported to the manufacturer.

The directive also states it is "an interim action" and further action may follow.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash having taken the wreckage to a facility in Farnborough, Hampshire.

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