Germany lifts grounding order for Airbus Tiger helicopters

BERLIN, Sept 22 (Reuters) - The German Defence Ministry on Friday said it had lifted the grounding order imposed for Airbus Tiger helicopters after a deadly crash during a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, but continued to investigate the cause of the crash.

A top ministry official told lawmakers in a letter that the military’s flight safety commission decided on Thursday to allow flights of the military helicopters, albeit with conditions on airspeed, weight and use of the auto pilot system. The order also requires additional safety inspections, he said.

“The conditions set for flight cover a wide spectrum of possible causes of the accident. This leads to limited and acceptable restrictions in the operational realm,” he wrote.

Airbus earlier this month warned pilots of Tiger helicopters to be careful of rapid switches from auto pilot to manual mode during turbulence, after initial indications showed that such a switch may have played a role in the July crash that killed both crew members. (Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Victoria Bryan)