Three serious helicopter accidents have touched the Irish aviation community in March.
First came a Robinson R44 helicopter in County Louth on 12 March 2017 injuring a father and his son.
Two days later came the loss of the Sikorsky 92 Irish Coast Guard helicopter in County Mayo claiming the lives of all four on board.
Two weeks later, tragedy struck a third time when five members of the same family lost their lives after the Airbus AS355 Twin Squirrel helicopter that they were travelling in on route to Dublin came down in mountainous terrain in North Wales.
Coroners Inquests have been opened and adjourned whilst full air safety investigations are carried out by the AAIU in Dublin and AAIB in Farnborough into the causes of these accidents.
Three serious helicopter accidents in less than a month is a cause for real concern. The two fatal accidents involved sophisticated twin turbine engine helicopters with advanced flight systems, but with indications of controlled flight into terrain.
James Healy-Pratt, Head of Aviation & Travel at Stewarts Law, (also a qualified turbine helicopter pilot), commented:
"In our experience, there is a chain of causes that results in these individual accidents.
Having been involved in the fatal helicopter accidents of Lord Ballyedmond at Gillingham Hall, and the Augusta 109 in the Mourne Mountains, poor visibility and weather will be relevant factors.
Although helicopters are complex and unforgiving machines, the sad coincidence of 3 serious helicopter accidents occurring in such a short period of time is almost unprecedented in Ireland and England.
The families deserve the full truth of what went wrong and what needs to be done to save lives in the future."