Papillon Changes Tanks After Crash

February 28, 2018

The company that owns the helicopter involved in a deadly crash at the Grand Canyon is adding new fuel systems to its fleet that could help prevent or limit burn injuries.

Papillon Airways announced an agreement this week with StandardAero for 40 fuel tanks that expand, rather than rupture, on impact. The systems generally give passengers and pilots more time to escape, if they survive a hard landing by keeping fuel from spreading and igniting, aviation experts say.

The National Transportation Safety Board repeatedly has urged the Federal Aviation Administration to require that all helicopters have the systems. Right now, they're required only for helicopters certified after 1994.

The decision comes two weeks after one of Papillon’s helicopters crashed just outside of the Grand Canyon killing five passengers. Three people were pronounced dead at the scene and two died several days later of complications from burn injuries.