NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Safety checks on H175 helicopter fleet after crack found

H175 helicopter (generic shot) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption H175s make up only a small part of the overall North Sea helicopter fleet

Safety checks are to be carried out on a type of helicopter used in North Sea oil and gas operations after a crack was found in the tailpiece of one aircraft.

Manufacturer Airbus has told operators to restrict the speed of the H175 helicopters in the meantime.

H175s make up only a small part of the overall North Sea helicopter fleet.

Babcock, upon whose helicopter the crack was found, says it is carrying out checks on the two 175s it owns.

One operator, NHV, said it was pausing flights using the H175s altogether until they are given the all clear.

'Minimise impact'

The manufacturer said in a statement: "Airbus Helicopters confirms it has issued a service bulletin to H175 operators calling for a temporary reduction of the maximum allowable speed of the helicopter.

"This follows the detection of structural damage during routine inspections of the horizontal stabilizer on a customer helicopter.

"We are in direct contact with our customers to minimise the impact on their operations."

There are understood to be 19 in the North Sea fleet.