EASA orders checks on AS332L helicopters following fatal crash in Japan

EASA orders checks on AS332L helicopters following fatal crash in Japan

The Agency issued an Emergency AD saying that damage to a flapping hinge link on a rotor blade had been reported: four people died earlier this month when a Super Puma crashed north-west of Tokyo

EASA ordered checks on Airbus Helicopters AS332L Super Puma helicopters following the fatal crash that killed four people on November 8th, 2017 in Japan.

In its latest directive, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said damage to a “flapping hinge link” on a rotor blade had been reported on the Toho Air Service helicopter: the European aviation watchdog  ordered on Super Pumas to detect 'cracks' on rotor component.


EASA said an investigation is ongoing to determine the root cause of the damage. The damage of flapping hinge link on one of the five tail rotor blades of the tail rotor, if not detected and corrected, could lead to failure of flapping hinge link and unbalance of the tail rotor with possible detachment of tail rotor gearbox and tail rotor hub (TRH), resulting in loss of control of the helicopter.

To address this potentially unsafe condition and pending further information from the technical investigation, Airbus Helicopters (AH) issued Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) AS332 64.00.43 (hereafter referred to as ‘the ASB’ in this AD) to provide inspection instructions. It has ordered operators to carry out one-time inspections on flapping hinges and take corrective action if necessary.

The Emergency AD is applicable to AS 332 C, AS 332 C1, AS 332 L and AS 332 L1 helicopters, all manufacturer serial numbers.


A Toho Air Service Airbus Helicopters AS332L Super Puma (JA9672) was totally destroyed by impact and post impact fire on November 8, 2017 when it crashed on a road bridge just to the west of Ueno, Gunma Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, killing the four people on board.

According to witnesses, as quoted in the local press, the helicopter had been 'flying unusually low' along the river valley just before the crash.

In the video: Helicopter Crash Near Tokyo Kills All 4 Onboard

There are reports of a power outage in the area at about the time of the crash suggesting that the helicopter may have collided with power lines.

The accident happened in daylight (1430L). The weather was described as 'cloudy'.

The helicopter was operating a flight from Hayakawa, Yamanashi Prefecture to Haga, Tochigi Prefecture.