Helicopter door fell off

person by Trude Meland, Norwegian Petroleum Museum
A helicopter was flying from Kvernberget airport to Draugen when a door to the passenger cabin fell off. Nineteen passengers and two pilots were on board, but nobody was injured.
— Helicopter parked on helideck. Photo: Alice Bergfall/Norwegian Petroleum Museum
© Norsk Oljemuseum

The warning lights for the right-hand door had come on immediately after departure, while the machine hung in the air about 10 metres above ground before setting off westwards.

Air controllers in the tower had seen the door fall off onto the tarmac. The helicopter set down and taxied over to the apron before the passengers were given a debriefing. They were then transferred to a new helicopter in order to get to work on Draugen. The incident was an unpleasant experience both for them and for the pilots.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Aftenposten, 3 June 2003, “Helikopterdør falt av etter avgang”.
The SHT investigated the incident and reached the following conclusion:

The SHT considers that this was a potentially serious incident. Had the door fallen off at cruising speed, it could have hit vital components on the helicopter with the damage and possible accident that this would have involved. In addition, third parties could have been injured.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Accident Investigation Board Norway (2007). Rapport om luftfartshendelse ved Kristiansund lufthavn Kvernberget 02.06.2003 med LN-OHG. (SL report 2007/31, published 1 November 2007). Downloaded from https://www.aibn.no/Luftfart/Rapporter/2007-31?ref=1713.

This flight had been the second for the helicopter that day, and the co-pilot reported problems with locking the door for the first journey. A flight technician had corrected the fault before take-off.

The SHT’s report also noted that operator CHC Helicopter Service had stated that a concentration on keeping to the timetable could have contributed to the failure to identify and correct the fault before the first flight of the day.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Accident Investigation Board Norway (2007). Rapport om luftfartshendelse ved Kristiansund lufthavn Kvernberget 02.06.2003 med LN-OHG. (SL report 2007/31, published 1 November 2007). Downloaded from https://www.aibn.no/Luftfart/Rapporter/2007-31?ref=1713.

The report found that the incident could primarily be traced back to work done a little earlier on the emergency opening system. Poor assembly meant that vibration caused to door to loosen.

According to the commission, the company took the affair seriously and had introduced a number of changes to its routines and inspections.
A similar incident occurred in January 2010 when the cockpit door fell off a Super Puma helicopter en route to the Sleipner field in the North Sea. This was also a CHC machine.

Published August 8, 2018   •   Updated October 18, 2018
© Norsk Oljemuseum
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