The FAA is proposing to supersede an existing airworthiness directive for the Agusta A109E that requires reducing the tail rotor (T/R) blade life limit, modifying a T/R hub and grip assembly, re-identifying two T/R assemblies, clarifying the never-exceed speed (Vne) limitation and reducing the inspection interval. The OEM has since redesigned a T/R grip bushing that reduces the loads, which caused cracking on the T/R blades.
The FAA has issued an Airworthiness Directive for the Bell 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3 and 206L-4 prompted by two accidents in which investigations revealed a main rotor blade failed because of fatigue cracking. Transport Canada advises there is no reliable inspection method to detect the cracks before blade failure and has reduced the life limit from 3,600 to 1,400 hours’ time-in-service.
As part of its €1.6 billion ($2.2 billion) Clean Sky joint technology initiative, Europe is undertaking a number of projects toward the development of more-electric helicopters.
A call for proposal released for Europe’s main aerospace research project, the €1.6 billion ($2.2 billion) Clean Sky joint technology initiative, has highlighted a strong focus on electric systems for helicopters.
U.S. and European civil aviation authorities have issued new airworthiness directives (ADs) for the inspection and possible repair or replacement of the Sikorsky S-92A’s main gearbox. The updated ADs build on 2009 directives and mandate action on a new gearbox design that was supposed to solve the problem, at least temporarily.
Bell 206L-3, Abilene, Texas, March 29, 2009–The NTSB determined the fatigue crack in the trailing edge of a main rotor blade was caused by interconnected porosity and resulting corrosion resulting from an undetected manufacturing defect. During a post-flight inspection following a flight in turbulence, the pilot noted the crack in the blade.
The FAA issued a special airworthiness information bulletin (SAIB NM-09-18) last month warning operators of aircraft equipped with carbon disc brakes that absorbed moisture in the carbon discs can freeze and lock wheels. The SAIB resulted from an incident involving a Bombardier Global Express that flew from Van Nuys, Calif., to London Luton Airport.
Lord and Sikorsky are developing a lightweight, self-contained hub-mounted vibration system (HMVS) for the Connecticut manufacturer’s future medium and heavy-lift helicopters as part of Sikorsky’s “High Performance, Low Vibration and Low Noise Enabling Technologies Program” in cooperation with the U.S. Army. The HMVS system features motorized imbalanced rotors that rotate at the blade-pass frequency to create centrifugal forces.
Semia, a French manufacturer of maintenance equipment, was at Helitech 2008 exhibiting the Syntham 5000, a new engine vibration-check device that can monitor several channels simultaneously.
One of the most expensive consumable items on an aircraft is becoming less expensive to operate. Hydro-Aire, a part of Crane Aerospace & Electronics, has signed a licensing agreement with Dunlop Aerospace’s aviation braking systems division of Coventry, England, for braking system software designed to increase aircraft brake life significantly.
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