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Flying again

NINE Super Puma helicopters have been brought back into service to help bring hundreds of stranded oil workers home after aircraft were grounded following Monday’s ditching off Fair Isle.

On Thursday the Civil Aviation Authority imposed a ban on all Super Puma EC225s, the aircraft involved in Monday’s incident, as well as some other models from flying over the sea.

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The move came after the Air Accident Investigation Branch discovered a 360 degree crack in the main gearbox shaft that stopped the oil lubrication system from working and led to the controlled ditching.

The flaw was similar to that which caused a similar ditching last May involving the same type of aircraft.

The oil and gas industry’s Helicopter Safety Steering Group on Thursday authorised some Super Puma AS335s to take to the air again to help start moving offshore workers.

Shetland’s Scatsta airport remains unaffected by the crisis in the offshore transport industry as it only flies Sikorsky S92 helicopters.

An airport spokesman said that so far they had not been asked to help clear the backlog of stranded workers, but they will be working throughout the weekend anyway to make up for lost time caused by weather delays.

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