Operators of Leonardo AW169 and AW189 helicopters have been ordered to conduct immediate inspections of their tail rotors in the wake of a fatal AW169 crash in Leicester, England, on Oct. 27. An Emergency AD was issued, EASA called for AW169 and AW189 operators to check for correct installation of the tail rotor servo-actuator within five flight hours or 24 hours, whichever occurs first.
The AD was prompted by the crash of an AW169 owned by Leicester City Football Club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha as it departed from King Power Stadium following a match. Bystander video showed the aircraft performing a vertical takeoff from the field, then spinning out of control before transitioning into forward flight. The aircraft crashed outside of the stadium and burst into flames, killing all five people on board, including Srivaddhanaprabha.
Operators who discover damage or other findings during the inspection of the tail rotor servo-actuator are required to contact Leonardo for approved instructions. Operators with no findings are instructed to “apply a paint mark on the nut from the rod end to the hinge bracket element in accordance with the instructions of the applicable ASB.”
The investigation involving the AW169 crash in England is still an active on going investigation.