Bell Warns Operators about BLR Strakes

 - November 13, 2006, 5:51 AM

A September 7 information letter from Bell Helicopter warns Bell 206 and 206L operators of potential problems with STC'd Boundary Layer Research (BLR) tailboom strakes. The letter states that the tailboom "was not engineered to accommodate the attachment of extraneous items like these strakes, nor for the additional loads these strakes may impose on the structure...Operation with these strakes is outside the operational flight envelope." Bell also raised the specter of potential fatigue problems. BLR issued this statement: "BLR's 206-series tailboom strake design was analyzed and tested to demonstrate compliance with all applicable FAA regulations...there is no change in tailboom and tailfin component lives, or maintenance and inspection requirements. In over 18 months of operating experience, BLR customers have not reported a single service problem with any 206 strake installation." Bell appears not to have issued similar information letters regarding the STCs for BLR strakes on the Bell 212/412 (circa 2001) and 204/205 (2002).