A new-build version of the Grumman Mallard amphibian is on the drawing boards, with the formation of Mallard Aircraft by type certificate holder Frakes Aviation. Based in Cleburne, Texas, Mallard Aircraft is headed by Sam Jantzen, Jr., managing director, who previously held pilot and executive positions with Cessna, Fairchild Aircraft, Commuter Air Technology, Raisbeck Engineering and Blackhawk Modifications.
The FAA is proposing to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A engines. The proposed AD was prompted by in-service events involving the perforation of engine cases as a result of the liberation of power-turbine blades and the fracture/displacement of the power-turbine containment ring.
The failure of some Stage-2 high-pressure turbine (HPT) nozzles triggered the uncommanded shutdown of an Engine Alliance GP7200 turbofan on an Emirates Airline A380 in November last year, according to the findings of an investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).
Aerometals has received PMA approval for spiral bevel gears for the main rotor transmission of the MD500. According to the company, the approval marks the first time the FAA has granted manufacturing approval for transmission gears to a company that is not the OEM. The testing required a test stand using a 500-hp electric motor instead of a gas turbine. The MD transmission is rated for 425 hp for up to five minutes, but Aerometals ran the gears for eight hours at 467 hp to satisfy FAA testing requirements.
The Tech 800 core engine demonstrator made its first run last month at Turbomeca’s Bordes, France headquarters, the company announced last week. A high-pressure spool for the 1,100-shp engine class, the Tech 800 is a precursor to the engine manufacturer’s TM800 Arrano. The Arrano turboshaft will power the Eurocopter X4 medium twin, a Dauphin successor planned for 2017.
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.
Southeast Turbines has completed renovating its 10,000-sq-ft facility at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. The FAA-certified repair station specializes in the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A, PT6T and JT15D. Southeast Turbines’ capabilities include on-wing hot-section inspections, compressor-turbine disk reblade, true and balance, small exit duct rework to include “zero grind” hot-section installations, unscheduled power section repairs, fuel nozzle cleaning/recertification and bleed valve overhaul.
The FAA is proposing to supersede an existing airworthiness directive for the Agusta A109E that requires reducing the tail rotor (T/R) blade life limit, modifying a T/R hub and grip assembly, re-identifying two T/R assemblies, clarifying the never-exceed speed (Vne) limitation and reducing the inspection interval. The OEM has since redesigned a T/R grip bushing that reduces the loads, which caused cracking on the T/R blades.
An airworthiness directive has been issued for all Honeywell TFE731-20R, -20AR, -20BR, -40, -40AR, -40R, -50R and -60 turbofan engines. It was prompted by a report of a quality escape of about 8,000 second-stage low-pressure turbine (LPT2) rotor blades manufactured by Honeywell’s Chihuahua, Mexico, manufacturing operation since 2009. This AD requires removing and inspecting certain LPT2 rotor blades. Cost of the fix is $3,480.
American Eurocopter’s blade shop in Grand Prairie, Texas, is a busy place. The 20 craftsmen repair and refurbish 1,000 helicopter main and tail rotor blades every year. That translates into 95 percent of all Eurocopter blade work in the U.S.
Much of the work is done by hand. “It is a slow process,” acknowledges shop manager Jim Tully. “It would be nice if we could find a way to go faster, but it has to be done the same way. With fiberglass, it wouldn’t take long to scrap out a blade completely” if a mistake were made.
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