TECHNICAL logs in the months before the Clutha helicopter crash showed repeated concerns about fuel readings, an inquiry has heard.

A Police Scotland helicopter fell into the Clutha Vaults in Glasgow on November 29, 2013, killing three crew members and seven customers in the bar.

The fatal accident inquiry has previously heard that experienced pilot David Traill had five low fuel warnings in the minutes before the crash.

Advocate Gordon Lamont, for the Crown, showed the court a series of written reports from Glasgow Heliport, where aircraft G-SPAO was based.

Mr Lamont was taking evidence from Ian Taylor, an aircraft engineer at the helicopter’s Glasgow base at the time of the crash.

READ MORE: Second copter had issues days after Clutha crash

Mr Taylor was asked about an entry in the pilot handover diary, which said: “Dave T had degrade and inaccurate fuel indication during the day.”

The entry was made on May 21, 2013 but the technical record for this date and surrounding dates showed no defects.

Mr Taylor told the court he would not normally see the pilot’s handover diary as pilots and engineers worked in separate areas of the base.

They would not, he said, communicate unless there was a specific issue with an aircraft to discuss.

Five days later the technical record showed reported erratic fuel content readings with the fault being traced to the rear fuel probe, which was replaced.

Eight days later, Mr Taylor recorded in the engineers’ diary a new sensor was arriving as there was the “same fuel snag as before”.

There was no entry in the technical record corresponding with this and Mr Taylor said he could not say why this would be.

He said he would expect the entries to correspond regarding a permanent defect.

On June 3 that year the engineers' handover diary said: "Fuel quantity snag as before. New sensor coming from Cardiff."

READ MORE: Pilot received numerous low fuel warnings

In October, Mr Taylor replaced three of the four fuel supply sensors after a failure in the fuel supply tank.

The following day, October 11, a fuel supply tank was found to be indicating it had 11kgs of fuel when it was actually empty, but after being cleaned and refilled the problem was solved.

Two days before the crash, the end-of-shift report indicated the fuel contents in the main tank dropped after a period of time following refuelling and that the fuel probe should be binned if it could be changed.

Asked what steps he took regarding this, Mr Taylor said: “None that I can remember.”

He said the fuel results during pre-flight checks on the day of the crash would have been clear or he would have noted this.

He said he could not recall any problem with the helicopter between it returning to base at 2.35pm after a flight to Inverness that day and his shift ending at 5pm.

Mr Taylor was also asked about an information notice from helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter, which has previously been shown to the court.

The notice, dated January 21, 2013, stated that drops of water in the metal tubes of the fuel level sensor could affect the fuel level shown on the display in the helicopter.

READ MORE: Copter called out to false alarm at Oatlands

Mr Taylor said he had no been aware of the possibility of water entering the fuel system and causing problems until after the notice was issued.

He said it “wasn’t common at all” to find water in the daily fuel samples in 2013.

Mr Traill, 51; PC Tony Collins, 43; and PC Kirsty Nelis, 36, died along with seven customers who were in the bar, Gary Arthur, 48; Joe Cusker, 59; Colin Gibson, 33; Robert Jenkins, 61; John McGarrigle, 58; Samuel McGhee, 56; and Mark O’Prey, 44.


The inquiry, in front of Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull, continues on Tuesday morning.