The recurrent appearance of smoke in the cockpit prompted several helicopter pilots Tiger Australian Army to halt flights against the advice of their superiors. Twenty pilots have already left the army
Dozens of drivers of the Australian Army conducted a mini-revolt up to "strike" by refusing to fly on their ARH Tiger attack helicopters. Several crews were hampered by smoke from the cockpit for the third time this year.
The last warning was held at the training center military Cultana in South Australia on November 4.Previous incidents had taken place in March and July 2012. Helicopter fleet has not yet been pinned down after the third incident.
"The crew applied the standard procedure in the event of smoke or fumes in the cockpit and landed safely at the airfield of El Alamein," said an official of the Ministry of Defence of Australia.
Angered by the decision of their superiors not to suspend the flights, the crews of the 1st Aviation Regiment based in Darwin voted against the continued operation until all safety issues are resolved. A rare occurrence in the army may be likened to the mutiny. Many drivers of the Australian Army have also been shocked that their colleagues can vote and refuse to fly, defying their superior officers who had found the helicopter operations.
"Usually, it takes rather fight to prevent a pilot to fly," said an anonymous army.
Tiger flights were temporarily paused in March and July 2012 due to smoke. But since 2007 the cockpit Tiger still recorded 24 incidents of smoke.
For its part, the Australian Department of Defence has refused to recognize that the pilots had refused to fly effectively. He nevertheless acknowledged the concerns and said that crews flying lull was not uncommon during the maintenance phase.
The Ministry of Defence also confirmed that the 1st Aviation Regiment had not flown since the incident at the training center of Cultana November 4.
"No flight ARH (Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Tiger) has been programmed by the 1st Aviation Regiment in Darwin since the incident Cultana to smoke," said he confirmed.
The crew breaks the ice
In the first incident, the crew in tandem Tiger helicopter had to open the windows inside the cockpit to circulate the air and dispel smoke. In the second incident in July, the cockpit window was stuck because it was not checked during pre-flight inspections and the crew has been forced to break the glass roof to ventilate the cabin.
According to preliminary analysis, the fumes come from a faulty capacitor on older models of a power supply system in the multi-function display. Initially, the army initially thought it was the air conditioning system.
Several drivers had to hire Tiger evacuation procedures to ensure safety. In 2012, 22 helicopter pilots have even left the army two of the first regiment to Darwin.
In September, the squadron commander of the 1st 162 Aviation Regiment, Major Hayden Archibald, had yet said he would like to fight in Afghanistan with the Tiger.
Australian Army but was criticized during the investigation into the death in Afghanistan of pilot Lieutenant Marcus where investigators had highlighted the inability of the military to respect the operational airworthiness regulations.
The Australian Army has 22 Tiger ARH helicopters which 16 are deployed to Darwin. They were built by Eurocopter, a subsidiary of the European giant EADS, and assembled in Brisbane by Australian Aerospace, a cost of $ 2 billion. The first model assembled in Australia is number 005 (pictured above).
Note: The Tiger is an attack helicopter and reconnaissance built 80% carbon fiber. It has a crew consisting of a tandem pilot and weapons operator (Hellfire anti-tank missiles, rockets and cannon 70mm/30mm) and an armored cab. Its unit cost is approximately $ 70 million. Three versions are produced: Tiger UHT (Germany), the Tiger HAP (France), the Tiger ARH (Australia), and the Tiger HAD (Spain, France).