Air Transport World

Airspur optimistic about resumed service.

Airspur optimistic about resumed service

Los Angeles--Airspur Helicopters was enjoying "a tremendous month, our biggest ever, with all three routes operating in the black and gross revenues double our forecast,' in the words of chairman and chief executive John E. Gallagher, when one of its four Westland WG-30 helicopters suffered a tail rotor pitch control failure and crashed near Long Beach last Nov. 7.

Gallagher voluntarily grounded his fleet within minutes of the non-fatal accident, which occurred just six months after Airpsur's May 10 launching of scheduled helicopter airline service connecting three suburban Los Angeles airports with Los Angeles International Airport (ATW, 9/83).

Formal grounding by the British CAA, primarily certification authority for the WG-30, followed on Nov. 18, and the U.S. FAA issued a similar order under its reciprocity agreements with the United Kingdom. The grounding stretched out for nearly two months as British and U.S. aviation investigators struggled to pinpoint the cause of a fatigue failure in the aircraft's tail rotor pitch control lever.

Finally, on Jan. 15, after implementation of "relatively minor, but important,' design changes in the tail rotor system, Airspur was able to resume its schedule of 75 daily flights among Los Angeles International, Burbank/Glendable/Pasadena, Fullerton/ Anaheim and John Wayne/Orange County airports.

Public acceptance

And when eight passengers showed up for the first flight, Gallagher told ATW in an interview five days after service resumed, he became "cautiously optimistic' that the company's public relations effort during the service suspension had paid off, and that regaining public acceptance of the benefits of a helicopter transportation system in the vast Los Angeles metropolitan area would not be a problem. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.