The Finnish helicopter transport company Copterline is holding discussions with the helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky on how to divide possible damages arising from the crash of a passenger helicopter in August last year, in which 14 people were killed. The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed into the Gulf of Finland shortly after leaving Tallinn for Helsinki.
Discussions were last held on Friday in London, and they are to continue. Copterline CEO Kari Ljungberg did not want to comment on the matter on Friday evening.
The investigation process has nevertheless shown that Copterline and Sikorsky have sharply differing views on the cause of the accident.
Copterline says that the accident was caused by a failure of the main rotor servo, which rendered the aircraft impossible to steer.
Sikorsky has not put forward any precise assessments of the causes of the crash, but says that it could not have been caused by the kind of chain of events that Copterline suggests.
The Finnish company nevertheless is backed up by results that have come from the ongoing official inquiry.
Taking part in the investigation as the representative of the country where the helicopter was manufactured is the National Transportation Safety Board of the United States. The NTSB made a proposal last autumn, which was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for a change of the flight-fitness status of the helicopter model.
In November last year the NTSB urgently recommended that the FAA require all operators of the S-76 model to carry out "immediate visual and laboratory examinations" of main rotor servos.
Sikorsky sharply opposes the proposal. The company conducted a series of tests last winter, and concluded that the type of failure suggested could not have taken place, and even if it had, it would not have caused the aircraft to go completely out of control.
Copterline says that the Sikorsky’s tests were inadequate.
If a design fault can be proven to have been the cause of the accident, both Copterline and the families of the victims would be entitled to considerable damages under US law.