Bell Moves To Remedy Cracked 505 Collectives, Restrictions

 - March 6, 2021, 1:11 PM

In an information letter issued to customers earlier this week, Bell said it is attempting to lift the 25-hour fluorescent penetrant inspection (FPI) requirement on the right-side pilot collective sticks on its Model 505. The company is working with its supplier—which Bell previously confirmed to AIN as Mecaer—to retrofit, exchange, or replace the collective sticks in the light turbine single helicopters.

The requirements for the repetitive inspections were levied by Transport Canada and the FAA in late February following reports of cracks in the sticks that could lead to catastrophic failure and loss of aircraft control. Initially, Transport Canada mandated FPI only if cracks were discovered, while the FAA mandated FPI for all of the 25-hour inspections.

Bell said its strategy to eliminate the 25-hour inspection was to require the helicopters be flown only from the left seat as an “interim measure” and that the company is “working diligently to introduce a permanent fix based on testing and data received from the field. Corrective action options are presently in engineering review following the design phase.”

However, Bell cautioned that “we will have limited quantities of replacement parts to offer upon release of the approved design changes. Initially, we will provide replacement collective stick assemblies on a case-by-case basis for those in the most urgent need. As rework options get approved, we will increase the supply to meet the demand.” Bell told customers that the costs associated with the 25-hour inspection requirement would be covered under warranty.