21 Apr 2017

Chief of the Air Force defends helicopter flying restrictons

From Morning Report, 7:09 am on 21 April 2017

The Chief of the Air Force says despite the effective grounding of all its NH 90 helicopters the aircraft are not duds.

An Air Force NH90 helicopter in action

An Air Force NH90 helicopter in action Photo: Supplied - NZDF

The Air Force's NH90 helicopters have been all but grounded due to an unexplained engine problem forcing crew on Sunday to make an emergency landing.

The AirForce has stopped all flights to areas where emergency landings are not possible, such as cities, mountains or water after one of the helicopters was forced to make an emergency landing on Sunday.

A visit to Kaikoura today by Cabinet ministers Gerry Brownlee and Jonathan Coleman has been cancelled as a result.

Air Vice-Marshal Tony Davies says he expects engine problems with helicopters to be sorted within weeks.