The investigation into a fatal helicopter water impact crash in 2004, determined that whilst the pyrotechnic devices for firing the air bottles to inflate the flotation bags were both intact and operational, they had not activated due to a power failure from the emergency bus to the device; the official inquest determined there to be a high probability the crew would have survived had the aircraft remained afloat.
In this instance it was determined that the power failure was due to the severance of a wiring loom by a rotor blade which itself had suffered damage on impact. Any power failure to the flotation system firing mechanism will result in the air-bags not being inflated; this could be as a result of an unserviceable battery or damage to the power supply wiring to the pyrotechnic device either prior to, or on, impact (short circuit, fire, severance).
Ferranti Technologies has designed an independent power supply to automatically activate the flotation system in the event of a crash landing on water; this device, EFIPS (Emergency Flotation Independent Power Supply) has been designed, certified and it ins service on a number of helicopter platforms performing in various roles and operations.
This product is an example of the bespoke nature of the work we do at Ferranti, taking a specific problem and providing the solution. Contact us for further technical information about EFIPS or about your specific needs.