Ottawa continues to wink and nudge its way past the graveyard concerning the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter, so afraid they are to take on an American juggernaut.
On March 12, 2009, Cougar Flight 491 killed 17 of 18 on board because the pilot believed the 30-minute fly-dry oil-pressure-loss certification was for real.
The helicopter was only 15 minutes off the coast of Newfoundland, and the crew believed the machine could make it back after the gearbox oil warning light came on. But catastrophic failure occurred in only eight minutes.
Ottawa has just announced new safely regulations for helicopters operating offshore in response to the disaster, but rejected the Transportation Safety Board's recommendation that offshore choppers actually pass the FAR/JAR-29 safety fly-dry requirement.
Instead, everyone must now have survival suits and underwater breathing apparatus.
Helicopters falling out of the sky is OK as long as an air tank is available. What the hell?
The Sikorsky S-92A 30-minute fly-dry certification appears to have been "fraudulently misrepresented." In fact, regulators were convinced to ignore the critical airworthiness test as oil pressure failure was presented as "extremely remote."
Perhaps largesse greased some palms to sneak this flying lemon past regulators?
"We don't think they answered the fundamental questions about how this aircraft got certified or how it remains certified," said Joe Fiorante, arguing on behalf of the families of the deceased.
The Sikorsky S-92 helicopter looked like a lemon even before touching the factory floor. Excessive vibration from the complex gearbox cannot be controlled, causing the heavy external bolt-on oil filter assembly to fail.
The vibration is so bad even titanium oil filter studs break. Sikorsky has returned to steel studs (which will stretch and leak before breaking) and recommends an excessive inspection and replacement regime to keep the flying vibrator viable.
Still, in its very first sentence, a new promotional web article misrepresents the S-92 as meeting all the FAR/JAR-29 safety standards, even as the crew of Flight 491 was led to believe.
The Transportation Safety Board wondered if helicopters that fly offshore and especially in the Arctic should be able to run dry for even longer than the 30 minute standard that the S-92 fails.
The fact that both Sikorsky and the Harper government cynically continue to ignore the failure of critical airworthiness fly-dry certification remains an obscenity on those folk's deaths - out-of-court settlements (sealed with confidentiality agreements) and underwater breathing apparatuses (Conservative band-aids) notwithstanding.
Is this a Harper Monte Pythonism? "Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more, say no more."