Van Horn Receives STC/PMA for Upgraded Bell 206B Blades

 - August 26, 2020, 10:18 AM
Van Horn Aviation's latest Bell 206B main rotor blades to receive FAA approval are designed to provide the feel and ride of metal blades while providing the performance of composite blades. (Photo: Van Horn Aviation)

Tempe, Arizona-based Van Horn Aviation (VHA) earned U.S. FAA supplemental type certification/parts manufacturer approval for its Version 2 composite main rotor blades for the Bell 206B helicopter.

The updated blades are designed with different carbon fiber ply counts and orientations than the original VHA 206B main rotor blades, giving them the ride and feel of metal blades while maintaining increased performance of composite blades, VHA said. The blades incorporate corrosion-resistant carbon-fiber skin and spars, a NASA-designed laminar-flow airfoil, tapered tip, and stainless steel/nickel abrasion strips along the leading edge.

“We’ve been flying these blades on our JetRanger for several months now, completing certification flights, photoshoots, and long multi-state cross-countries,” said VHA CEO James Van Horn. “The ride is about as smooth as a JetRanger can get, and yet you can feel the increased responsiveness.”

The blades, which have a service life of 10,000 hours with no required overhauls, are available through the company and its distributors with a list price of $60,000 per blade.