Transport Canada (TC) issued its second emergency airworthiness directive (AD) in one week regarding cracked collective control sticks on Bell 505 turbine helicopters. While the first AD called for mandatory, one-time inspections followed by fluorescent penetrant inspection (FPI) if a crack is found, this one mandates FPI every 25 hours and further directs that helicopters being ferried for inspections only be flown from the copilot’s (left) seat.
Bell declined to disclose to AIN how many cracked collective sticks have been discovered so far, but did confirm that the part is made by supplier Mecaer. AIN requested comment from Mecaer but has yet to receive a reply.
Transport Canada's original AD was prompted by the discovery of a collective stick fractured above the cabin floor at the junction with the collective jackshaft. The initial flaw was reported by the Stockton, California police department on a 2019 Bell 505 in its fleet. In that instance, the problem was discovered before engine start during the pilot preflight check of flight controls for travel. The second AD notes that an independent inspection of that stick and at least one other by Bell confirmed the cracking. At that point, Bell determined a one-time inspection was inadequate. TC considers this new, more stringent AD an “interim action.”
There are more than 300 Bell 505s in service.