Military under fire for poor helicopter maintenance

The Swedish Accident Investigation Board (SHK) has leveled sharp criticism toward the Armed Forces for the way it maintains its helicopters.

In a report cited in both the Dagens Nyheter (DN) and Blekinge Läns Tidning (BLT) newspapers, the board writes that gaps in the organization, competence, and resources caused a 2005 accident in which the tail section of a Superpuma helicopter fell off into the sea.

No one was seriously injured in the incident, which occurred off the boast of Blekinge County in southern Sweden.

“It isn’t strange at all that this type of problem occurred. Those involved were working in conditions too poor to allow them to do a good job,” said SHK head Göran Rosvall to BLT.

When the accident happened several military units had recently been closed and the two pilots came from different units.

One had been on duty for a week and was making his first night flight in eight months.

“Ahead of the new defence resolution in the spring I think we need to think one, two, and three times before we contribute further to the flying circus within the helicopter operations,” said Allan Widman, the defence policy spokesperson for the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), to DN.