The FAA proposes to supersede an existing airworthiness directive for the Robinson R22, R22 Alpha, R22 Beta, R22 Mariner, R44 and R44 II with certain main rotor blades. The existing AD currently requires inspecting each blade at the skin-to-spar line for debonding, corrosion, a separation, a gap or a dent and replacing any damaged blade with an airworthy blade.
Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Göttingen may have discovered a way to make helicopters more maneuverable, by reducing the dynamic load on the rotor head control rods.
During rapid forward flight or maneuvering, airflow stalls on the main rotor blade as it retreats (moves backwards), giving rise to a “dynamic stall” and subjecting the rotor head control rods to formidable dynamic loads.
“The Russian Hour,” sponsored by the Russia-based Helicopter Industry Association, featured the introduction of two of Russian Helicopters’ newest machines.
The Mi-171A2 is a follow-on upgrade to the venerable Mi-8/17 family and represents what program manager Dmitri Zuykov described as the next chapter in looking at broader global markets.
Bell Helicopter signed a memorandum of understanding with Van Horn Aviation to develop a composite tail rotor blade for the Bell 212 and Bell 412. Under the agreement, Van Horn will design, certify and manufacture the rotor blades, with Bell Helicopter Engineering participating in the design and certification processes. When certified, the blades will be distributed under Bell Helicopter’s Aeronautical Accessories brand.
Cobham Aerospace Communication’s Digital Audio Control System (DACS) has been selected for Life Flight Network’s 15 new AgustaWestland AW119Kx helicopters. The Aurora, Ore.-based aeromedical transport provider is the launch customer for the AW119Kx and will be taking delivery of its first aircraft this year. According to Cobham, the DACS is a compact and lightweight unit that “distributes and controls aircraft audio to/from all transceivers, receivers and audio warning systems.” Software in the DACS allows customization of the system to fit customer needs.
Van Horn Aviation (VHA) of Tempe, Ariz., wants to put more life into legacy helicopters by developing products that increase performance and lower direct operating costs by focusing on composite main and tail-rotor blades. At Heli-Expo’13, VHA is showing five examples of its work, all with different stories: tail-rotor blades for the Bell 206, UH-1 and 212/214; and main rotor blades for the MD Helicopters MD530F and Bell 206B.
Bell Helicopter is preparing to start assembling the first prototype of the 525 Relentless super-medium twin later this year at its facility in Amarillo, Texas. Four more prototypes are expected to join the test program before certification in 2015. Bell and its suppliers have begun manufacturing parts for the helicopter, which was announced in February last year and is slated to fly for the first time next year.
Able Aerospace Services announced the availability of a new Bell 206 main rotor strap fitting and pin PMA replacement part. Operators of the Bell 206 series can now further reduce operating costs by using the exclusive FAA-certified PMA parts. The main rotor strap fitting and pin are components of the Bell main rotor hub. The strap fitting replaces Bell Part Number 206-011-150-105 and the strap pin replaces Bell Part Number 206-011-125-105. Parts are available immediately at up to 50 percent less than OEM parts, according to the company.
The FAA is revising an earlier proposed airworthiness directive for the Eurocopter BO105A/C/LS/LS A-3 and 105S. The earlier AD proposed inspecting for debonding of the erosion protective shell (abrasion strip) on the leading edge of each main rotor blade. This SNPRM proposes to revise those inspection requirements by identifying specific dates of replacement of the applicable parts and identifying a specific inspection method to discover debonding of an abrasion strip.
The first flight of the Quest Helicopters AVQ light twin has slipped by half a year, to “August or September” this year. A prototype aircraft is said to be almost ready to fly, even as the company shifts its focus from the four-seater to a larger 10- to 15-passenger version.