The FAA adopted an airworthiness directive for Eurocopter Deutschland MBB-Kawasaki BK117C2 helicopters requiring inspection of the long tail-rotor drive shaft assembly for blind rivets. If any blind rivets are located, the shaft assembly must be replaced. The AD was prompted by the discovery that some helicopters have blind rivets installed in place of solid rivets, which could lead to failure of the tail rotor drive shaft and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
On April 9, the NTSB held a public meeting to discuss the crash of a LifeNet helicopter in Mosby, Mo., on Aug. 26, 2011. The Eurocopter AS350B2 ran out of fuel, according to the NTSB, and the pilot failed “to successfully enter an autorotation when the engine lost power due to fuel exhaustion.” What the pilot did not do, the Board explained, is move the cyclic control aft when the engine failed.
An MD369A helicopter pilot was seriously injured April 2 during a hard landing on private property in Darby, Mont. The three passengers aboard received minor injuries. The rotorcraft was destroyed when its engine failed to respond to throttle inputs at 10 feet above the ground. The tail rotor, tailboom and all main rotor blades separated from the helicopter on impact.
The FAA has adopted a new Airworthiness Directive (AD) for all AgustaWestland A109, A109A, A109A II, A109C, A109K2, A109E, A109S and A119 helicopters. It was prompted by the failure of the tail rotor pitch control link assembly on an A109E, caused by a production defect. The AD requires inspecting the link assembly for freedom of movement and taking corrective action if rotation resistance or binding occurs.
The heat is on the Bell Helicopter 429, thanks to an STC issued to Tanis Aircraft Products for a complete heli-preheat system for the light twin-engine helicopter.
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.
BLR Aerospace (Booth No. N3724) is marking the delivery of its 600th FastFin tail rotor enhancement and stability system for medium models of Bell helicopters including the 212, UH-1H, UH-1N, Huey II and 412.
The Coanda effect, which is central to the performance of the MD Helicopters Notar (no tail rotor) and the tail-boom strakes on many other helicopters, inspired 16-year-old Ethan Chu’s design for a helicopter that won him the Igor Sikorsky Youth Innovator Award in the second annual Helicopter 2050 Challenge (http://www.helicopter2050.com).
“I was fascinated with the Coanda effect,” Chu said, “and I decided to use it to make my helicopter design more efficient.”
Following recent crashes of EMS helicopters in Illinois and Iowa in December last year and this January, the FAA issued a revised Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin covering recommendations for rotorcraft flying into snowy or icy conditions.
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.