The FAA has issued an airworthiness directive for the Eurocopter EC155B, EC155B1, SA365N1, AS365N2 and AS365N3 requiring visual inspection of the tail-rotor hub for a crack and removal if one is found. The AD is prompted by reports of cracks on two tail-rotor hubs. These actions are intended to prevent the tail rotor from jamming, which could lead to reduced control or loss of control of the helicopter.
Preliminary Report: Turboprop Crashes in Brazil
BLR Aerospace announced at LABACE 2012 that it has won certification from the Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil (ANAC) of Brazil for its FastFin tail rotor enhancement and stability system for installation and flight on Bell Helicopter Models 204, 205 and 212.
A test aircraft assigned to Bell Helicopter’s XworX research-and-development division crashed Tuesday morning 10 miles from Avalon, Texas. The two-pilot crew was uninjured.
Wreckage video taken by a Dallas television station shows that the twin-engine Bell 214ST was flying a main-rotor system that had five blades when pilots made an emergency landing in a field and then gently rolled onto its right side. The video does not show any remains of the tail rotor.
The NTSB has opened the docket on the fatal crash of a Las Vegas tour helicopter late last year.
The EASA has certified the FastFin tail rotor enhancement and stability system for the Bell 205. It follows recent certification for the Bell 212, and Bell 412 certification is under way. “With FastFin, most operators will receive between a 10- and 90-percent increase in useful load depending on specific model and density altitude,” said Dave Marone, vice president of sales and marketing for BLR Aerospace.
The NTSB has opened the docket on the Dec. 7, 2011, fatal accident involving a Las Vegas tour helicopter. The Eurocopter AS350B2, operated by Sundance Helicopters, crashed in mountainous terrain approximately 14 miles east of Las Vegas. The pilot and four passengers were killed.
Given how critical the tail rotor is to basic helicopter flight, it is difficult to believe that ground-breaking NASA research on tail-rotor effectiveness (and the loss thereof) could languish in a filing cabinet at the Langley research center for nearly two decades. But it happened.
Rotor blade manufacturer Van Horn Aviation (VHA) of Tempe, Arizona (Booth No. 9651) is unveiling a prototype of its new Bell 412/212 tail-rotor blade here at Heli-Expo. Designed by VHA in collaboration with Bell Helicopter Textron, the new tail-rotor blade is predicted to increase tail-rotor authority while reducing pilot workload and eliminating inspections required by the current blade’s airworthiness directive (AD).
Sikorsky is now anticipating FAA certification of the S-434 light single for early next year, slightly later than the previous target date, which was this month. An improved Schweizer S-333, the S-434 sports a four-blade rotor, a new tail-rotor blade design, a structurally enhanced landing gear, a new trim system and an improved Kaflex driveshaft. The main rotor and its transmission come from the unmanned Fire Scout. The S-434 and the S-333 use the same Rolls-Royce 205-C20W turboshaft, which provides 320 shp.