The NTSB has issued a Safety Recommendation calling for the development of nondestructive testing techniques for Robinson main rotor blades after approximately 596 hours time-in-service to check for bond defects in areas between the skin and spar at the tip of the blade and between the skin and tip cap on all R22s and R44s.
Sikorsky S-92 test pilots John Dixon, company flight operations director, and Bob Spaulding, S-92 chief pilot, performed two full power-off landings last month, passing an important milestone on the medium-lift, twin-engine helicopter’s road to certification. Both landings were performed at slightly above the model’s max gross weight of 26,250 lb.
Bell 407, Morristown, Tenn., Nov. 9, 2007–The NTSB blamed the death of
British International has ambitions to introduce scheduled services in the UK within the next 10 years using the proposed Bell/Agusta BA619 tiltrotor airliner. The company’s managing director, David Hayler, told AIN “The future regional airliner is the tiltrotor,” and his 10-year vision sees use of a 19-seat stretched development of the BA609, soon to begin flight trials.
For the helicopter owner, operator or flight program looking to cut costs while simultaneously maintaining or expanding existing levels of service, Agusta’s A119 Koala may be the answer. Certified in 1999, the single-engine Koala has many of the same capabilities of, and in fact is faster than, most light twins.
It’s a sad fact of economic life that there is often opportunity in tragedy, and while some helicopter industry leaders aren’t necessarily looking to cash in on the worldwide terrorism scare, they have approached the U.S. government with a proposal that would make thousands of commercial helicopters available in times of national crisis.
Despite the fact that the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67A engines are installed on the first BA609 prototype tiltrotor, Bell is letting the development schedule of that aircraft slip, with its previously planned first flight moving from last month to sometime this summer. Assembly of a further pair of prototypes has also slowed dramatically.
A U.S. Customs MD 600N helicopter was damaged last month during the seizure of a half-ton of marijuana when a group threw rocks at the aircraft. The incident took place at the climax of a raid on a group of 13 men as they tried to smuggle the contraband using a raft to cross the Rio Grande River near McAllen, Texas.
MD Helicopters of Mesa, Ariz., said five MD 600Ns have exhibited cracks in the tailcone attachment area, and that an inspection bulletin is forthcoming to operators of the 53 aircraft currently flying. Concern over the cracks surfaced following the discovery of damage to the Notar-system tailcone attachment structure during a routine inspection of the MD 600N operated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department.
Bogus and illegally manufactured parts have long been a danger in aviation, but arrests and convictions of the peddlers are generally rare. However, a federal court in Los Angeles has convicted a father and son for falsifying the records for a set of salvaged rotor blades that ended up on a Bell 47 that crashed in New Zealand in 1995, killing the two occupants.