Bulletin Warns of R22/R44 Rotor Blade Debonding

 - February 9, 2007, 8:15 AM

A Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) issued today warns owners and operators of Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters that the rotor blade skin might begin to debond at the skin-to-spar joint on the lower surface at the tip. Robinson has issued a safety alert warning of this condition. This SAIB applies to main rotor blades part number A016-4, C016-2 or C016-5. The FAA is recommending that during daily preflight inspections operators “carefully inspect the lower skin-to-spar joint area, especially the outboard 10 inches.” If any area of the skin is not flush with the spar, the blade should be considered un-airworthy. “On blades with paint still covering the skin-to-spar joint, a crack in the paint may indicate a debond.” If any indication of debonding is detected, a mechanic should perform a “tap test” before further flight to detect actual debonding. “If any indication of a debond is detected, the blade should be considered un-airworthy.”