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2017 German helicopter crash in Mali: human error by Airbus mechanics

(B2) It was an error on the part of the mechanics of the Airbus Helicopters company which was the decisive cause of the Bundeswehr Tiger helicopter crash in Mali. The aircraft crashed on July 26, 2017 during a mission flight about 70 kilometers north of Gao, killing two people.

Bundeswehr helicopter in the Minusma (© NGV / B2)

A ministry spokesperson confirmed this on Wednesday (December 12), as reported by our colleague Thomas Wielgold from Augengerrafts. The final report of the general of the German Federal Aviation Safety Agency reveals that the pilots had no chance of avoiding the accident: the helicopter suddenly and unpredictably entered an uncontrolled state of flight that the crew could not intercept.

The direct cause of the crash lies in an incorrect adjustment of the main rotor of the helicopter, carried out in May 2016 " by the manufacturer's staff », more precisely by three Airbus technicians. However, the Airbus engineers had not yet completed their " prior training "and did not have" the qualifications necessary to make or reduce adjustments to the main rotor control “, according to elements of the report seen by Mirror online.

The autopilot inadvertently switched off, which inevitably led to the accident, according to Reuters. The involuntary stop caused the helicopter to tip forward; the pressure on the main rotor increased so much that it ripped it off in seconds.

This crash had led to the suspension of helicopter flights for the Minusma, and especially a sacred controversy in Germany on the maintenance of the devices.


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).