Eurocopter EC135 Needs Checks After Cracks Are Found Near Rotor

Eurocopter’s EC135 helicopters will require regular visual inspections after cracks were found in an area where rotor blades are attached, Europe’s air safety authority said.

Cracks have been located so far on three helicopters, the European Air Safety Agency said in an emergency airworthiness directive issued May 17, though the cause hasn’t yet been determined.

The EC135, which seats one or two pilots and five to six passengers, is widely used by governmental organizations including police forces, and by individuals and corporations. There are more than 1,000 in operation today flown by 270 customers in 58 countries, according to Eurocopter, a unit of European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co.

A spokeswoman for Eurocopter said it was too early to judge the seriousness of the cracks, given that the cause hasn’t yet been identified.

“EASA is closing monitoring the outcomes of the investigations performed by Eurocopter Deutschland, and any new potential finding and will amend or mandate new airworthiness actions as necessary,” EASA spokesman Jeremie Teahan said in an e-mailed statement today. Since May 17, no additional cracks have been found, he said.

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