Irish Air Corps temporarily suspends AW139 operations


IAC stops flying the fleet of six helicopters

The Irish Air Corps (IAC) has
temporarily suspended operations of its six AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters.
The AW139s are used by the IAC for various missions such as forest firefighting,
aerial reconnaissance, air ambulance and carrying troops.

Recently, an AW139
helicopter crashed in Brazil
and civil aviation authorities around the world issued airworthiness directives
regarding the tail rotor blades.

AgustaWestland also issued a
technical bulletin to all operators of the AW139.

The temporary suspension of operations will
be lifted when all aspects of the technical bulletin are resolved to the
satisfaction of the Air Corps Military Aviation Authority.

The air ambulance function of the IAC will
be carried out by Eurocopter EC135 helicopters. Like the AW139, the EC135 is
capable of being fitted with a ‘Life-Port’ system, which allows medical life
support systems to remain operational during flights.

The IAC have operated the AW139 helicopter
since November 2006.