1 NEWS investigation: Police Eagle helicopter operated while overdue for maintenance checks

A 1 NEWS investigation has revealed the Police Eagle helicopter operated for a full week while overdue for its maintenance checks.

The Auckland-based helicopter was due for its 100 hour check – the equivalent of a motor vehicle Warrant of Fitness - on January 27 this year.

It was finally inspected on February 6 – eight days late.

The aircraft flew six of those eight days, including at night.

The Civil Aviation Authority says that while the inspections were late, they did not reveal airworthiness issues.

A spokesperson told 1 NEWS that the operator, aviation company Airwork, voluntarily reported to the CAA and its client, NZ Police, and carried out an audit of all its helicopters provided to police.

The incident earlier this year is not the first problem police have had with its helicopters.

Earlier checks revealed that some of the aircraft's parts did not match those listed on Airwork's official records.

The Civil Aviation Authority said they chose not to prosecute Airwork because the company operated in a reasonable manner.

"The CAA is aware of both these issues and is satisfied with the steps the operator has taken to investigate them and prevent reoccurrence."

CAA policy states they prefer not to take enforcement action against those who fully report details of accidents and incidents.

However, it's not just police who have had issues with Airwork.

A business which uses Airwork's helicopters for tourist rides has told 1 NEWS they have had similar problems with the company.

As a result, they were forced to ground a helicopter for a fortnight.

A spokesperson for Airwork said that it had nothing further to add to the comments already made by the Civil Aviation Authority and the police.

Airwork's website says "we pride ourselves as being a company with foundations strongly based on sound Safety and Quality principles".

- By Andrew Macfarlane

Not only will the helicopter catch criminals, it will also play a major role in search and rescue missions. Source: 1 NEWS

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