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Bundeswehr releases report on July 2017 Tiger helicopter crash in Mali

18 December 2018
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The Bundeswehr announced on its website on 12 December that it submitted a report to the German parliament's defence committee on the 26 July 2017 crash of a Tiger combat helicopter supporting the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), which killed the two pilots.

The Bundeswehr deployed Tiger helicopters to Mali for 14 months starting in January 2017 to support MINUSMA. (Bundeswehr)The Bundeswehr deployed Tiger helicopters to Mali for 14 months starting in January 2017 to support MINUSMA. (Bundeswehr)

The Bundeswehr said the final report on the crash by its flight safety department found that "the sole direct cause ... was the incorrect setting of the flight controls by the industry responsible. As a result, the so-called end stop was set incorrectly."

The Bundeswehr went on to say, "At the time of the accident, the crew was flying at high speed at an altitude of around 500 m using the autopilot. The function of the autopilot was to compensate for the up- and downward movements of the helicopter in flight. At the time of the accident, the controls reached the wrong end stop. As a result, the autopilot mistakenly accepted the intervention of the pilot. At this point, the helicopter pitched forward.

"The pilots must have been completely surprised by this movement. The suddenly changing air flow highly accelerated the rotor in a so-called 'wind turbine effect'. The load capacity of the dynamic components of the helicopter was exceeded and the rotorhead fell apart. All this happened within a few seconds."

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