The An-124 is the world's second largest serially manufactured cargo airplane and world's third largest operating cargo aircraft, behind the one-off Antonov An-225 (an enlarged variant of the An-124) and the Boeing 747-8F.
CHC Helicopter Service sent the Super Puma and a smaller AW 139 with the gianttransport plane, Wednesday. The Antonov has space for both helicopters in the cargo hold.
The trip to Australia is calculated to take 24 hours, including one or two stopovers.
Helicopters grounded worldwide
All EC 225s are grounded worldwide following an emergency landing at sea on 22 October involving one from British company CHC Scotia off the Shetlands.
UK accident inspectors found cracks in a shaft in the main gearbox that meant both emergency lubrication system oil pumps were not working.The gearbox, which should contain 22 literes of oil for this was empty. The incident closely resembled a similar accident with the same helicopter at Aberdeen in May this year. The instruments incorrectly reported the system had failed that time.
The UK inquiry revealed that the manufacturer Eurocopter had never tested the system during the certification process. The French factory therefore had no evidence to suggest that the emergency system would supply enough gearbox oil for another 30 minutes extra flying time in the event of any oil leakage in the rotor.
The ‘no fly’ has caused problems for many EC 225 operators worldwide. More than 100 helicopters of this type were in service all over the world at the start of this year.
CHC Helicopter Service in Norway has eight of these aircraft type in its fleet. Bristow Norway also has two EC 225s for Barents Sea emergency preparedness based at Hammerfest. The company also has 15 in operation in the British Sector of the North Sea.
Bond Offshore Helicopters and CHC have grounded their EC 225s until the helicopter is deemed safe.