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New Zealand: military helicopters fly again

Safety exam completed after fatal plane crash during exercise

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) has given the green light for the return to service of the NHIndustries NH-90 Taipan military helicopters. All the aircraft in the fleet had been grounded for a few days, for precautionary reasons, after the collision between two aircraft during the "Talisman Saber" exercise, which led to the death of four soldiers. The vehicles were then subjected to security checks.

"The pause allowed the Air Force to conduct a risk assessment. This investigation looked into airworthiness and safety, including systems and procedures, as well as any new information from the Australian Defense Force, other users and by the aircraft manufacturer. We have not identified any new hazards or high risks. As a result, I have ordered the lifting of all restrictions", said Andrew Clark, Air Force chief.

The "Talisman Saber" mission for the first time saw New Zealand and Australia conduct a joint exercise, as part of the bilateral cooperation plan on strategic engagement and capability development. The training had therefore involved, in addition to the helicopters, 10 submarine drones of the Royal New Zealand Navy embarked on the ship Uss "Miguel Keith", joining a task force of the Royal Australian Navy.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency