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Safety officials to look into Copterline's operating procedures
Surprise inspections also planned for domestic airlines
The Finnish Civil Aviation Administration (FCAA) have decided to evaluate the entire operating procedures of the ill-fated commercial operator Copterline, whose helicopter crashed into the Gulf of Finland just outside of Tallinn a little over a month ago, killing all fourteen people on board.
The report published on Monday reads that although the reason for the crash remains unclear it is reasonable to call for a re-evaluation of Copterline's flight operations after such a serious accident.
According to Kim Salonen, the director of the Flight Safety Authority at the FCAA, it is better to go through the operations now rather than to wait for a year for the completion of the accident report.
Salonen emphasises that Copterline is not suspected of any specific shortcomings in its operations. Rather, this is a matter of double-checking if safety could somehow be improved.
"We will go through weather restrictions, refresher training, and safety equipment. Everything related to flying, basically."
Copterline director Jorma Kalhola views FCAA's estimate as a resonable one. "The authorities' actions are also going to be evaluated."
The report establishes that regular helicopter services are rare even on a global scale, and therefore the safety of Copterline's operation is difficult to gauge in the light of statistics.
The report avoids looking into the reasons for the accident, which are subject to investigation by an examination board in Estonia. The report merely states that the accident resulted from a sudden event that was beyond the control of the pilots.
According to the Minister of Transport and Communications Leena Luhtanen - who requested the report - there is no need for drastic measures on account of the accident.
The report also reveals that the Flight Safety Authority want to start performing random inspections on domestic airlines and to increase the number of inspections carried out on foreign carriers. This was prompted by the numerous serious air crashes this summer.
Department chief Eero Kausalainen at the Flight Safety Authority says the random inspections of domestic carriers' planes will be an addition to check-ups already performed at regular intervals.
According to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) norms, surprise inspections are to be carried out evenly and impartially on all airlines.
Since 1997, around 30 to 40 foreign planes have been subjected to random inspections each year. Last year's number of random checks was 51. This year about 80 planes will go through an unscheduled examination.