MD Helicopters says it has resolved a reported flexbeam shortage that temporarily grounded a Yorkshire Air Ambulance MD902 in February during an annual inspection. A company spokesman told AIN last month that the supplier of the part, Kaman, had adjusted its production schedule to compensate for an increase in demand for the part over forecast levels and that new flexbeams are now available. MD has had 27 used but serviceable flexbeams available for customers since early this year. MD provided one to Yorkshire in May and that helicopter has been returned to service. “There is no flexbeam shortage,” a company spokesman told AIN.
The bearingless, composite flexbeams are life-limited parts that attach the Explorer’s five main rotor blades to the forged aluminum hub and provide feathering and flapping motions. The design has long been praised for its ability to smooth out vibration; however, older flexbeams must be monitored for cracking. Newer flexbeams are manufactured differently and do not have this issue, according to MD.