Tail-rotor failure appears to be the culprit in the May 4 crash of a Eurocopter AS 350 news helicopter in New York City. But the NTSB said that tail-rotor control continuity could not be determined because of the extensive damage caused when the helicopter slammed onto a rooftop in Brooklyn, N.Y. The WNBC-TV helicopter, N4NY, crashed into a four-story building before breaking in two and falling onto a two-story building.
Bell 206L-3 LongRanger, Whiteriver, Ariz., July 26, 2003–The NTSB found that the crash of the LongRanger firefighting ferry flight was the result of the commercial pilot’s failure to maintain a minimum translational lift airspeed while maneuvering in high density-altitude conditions (calculated to be 11,968 feet) at near maximum required torque and above the in-ground-effect hover altitude.
Retrofit technology that could turn the Pentagon’s fleet of Black Hawks and other helicopters into 200-knot, high-altitude speedsters, and later be applied to the civil market, is one step closer to reality.
Frank Robinson, the 74-year-old firm-handed founder, chairman and president of Robinson Helicopter, says that as long as he’s sitting behind the big desk he’ll do exactly what he pleases. What pleases him? “Keeping it simple,” he explained, “and when I retire or die, whoever takes my place, hopefully, keeps that long-standing philosophy of mine alive.”
Sikorsky S-76A, Houston, April 19, 2006–The S-76A was hovering at West Houston Airport (IWS) when tail rotor control was lost. Registered to and operated by Houston Helicopters of Pearland, Texas, the helicopter was substantially damaged, but the commercial pilot, copilot and eight passengers were uninjured.
For many, the name Le Bourget is forever linked to one event, celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. Back in 1927, a young airmail pilot named Charles Lindbergh captivated the world when he flew his Spirit of St. Louis nonstop from New York and landed at Le Bourget.
The airport is home to one of the world’s most extensive collection of historic aircraft. More than 350 types are on display at Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace.
This year marks the 100th birthday of the helicopter, but it is actually difficult to be sure who deserves the title of “first to fly a manned rotorcraft.” Frenchmen Louis Breguet, Paul Cornu and Maurice Léger all achieved some sort of takeoff in 1907, but in reality this branch of aviation began more than a century before.
Bell is planning to add the second 429 prototype to its flight-test effort next month. The first example of the new light-twin helicopter has already convinced design engineers that they can stay with a four-blade tail rotor.
An accident caused by the loss of a tail-rotor blade prompted the FAA to issue an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) for the MD 369 series. The agency said it reviewed MD Helicopter service bulletins affecting tail rotor blades in operation with a machining defect, and the AD is requiring inspections before further flight. Bores of the tail-rotor blade root fittings should be checked.
Eurocopter is to issue a Service Bulletin that should solve a fleet-wide problem with the EC 145’s tail-rotor controls. In April, the FAA had issued an airworthiness directive (AD) calling for inspections and possible part replacement. The AD followed an in-flight incident that caused severe vibrations.