Second Report Reveals Technical Malfunction Led to Helicopter Crash
In recent news, an additional investigation had been carried out into the devastating helicopter crash that had occurred in the State of Israel last month. The interim report of the incident, which took place off the coast of the city of Haifa, has revealed that the reason behind the fire was a broken blade, located in the left engine of the helicopter. The fire led to the damage of the right engine as well, and the helicopter crashed as a result. Two pilots of the IDF, namely Maj. Chen Fogel and Lt. Col Erez Sachaini, lost their lives due to the crashing of the helicopter, Atalef AS565 Panther.
It crashed right off the coast and resulted in two deaths. The only survivor of the crash was the third member of the team and the naval officer on board, Cpt. Ron Birman. The results of the second investigation were put down in the interim report and then submitted to the chairman of the Israeli Airforce, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin. The family members of the involved crew also received a copy of the report. Norkin paid a tribute to the two fallen pilots, saying that they were senior and experienced commanders of the corps. He went on to praise the many hours that two pilots had put in for operational activities and training, which allowed them to accumulate a large number of flight hours.
They had also held combat and command roles, thereby contributing to the security of the country. Airbus Helicopters, the manufacturer of the helicopter from France, took to inspecting the engine itself. The investigation revealed that the left engine had faced a technical failure because an important internal component had corroded. This corrosion led to the development of a fatigue crack in the turbine blade of the engine. As the helicopter took off, the blade expanded, causing everything to crack and break inside the motor. Consequently, the helicopter caught fire.
Eurocopter is currently trying to determine exactly what caused the corrosion. However, the component that corroded is located deep inside the motor and thus, was not routinely checked by the maintenance workers. Amir Lazar, the chief of operations of the Israeli Airforce, revealed that as per the manufacturer, such technical failures are not common, especially in these helicopters. He added that the incident that had occurred was a fast, violent, and irregular one.
The Panther, specifically AS565, is used by various countries across the globe. These include Brazil, France, the United States, China, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, as well as South Korea. As per the military, the repair and inspection of the internal components of the engine is the responsibility of the manufacturer. The last time the manufacturer inspected the engine was back in 2017, as stipulated by regulations in France that state that each engine is to be examined after it accumulates a total of 1,650 flight hours. However, the helicopter had flown less than 1,400 hours ever since its previous inspection, which had been a comprehensive one. At the time, the manufacturer, as well as Israeli experts had deemed the helicopter to be in perfect condition.