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Significant Regulatory & Related Activity

Thu, Dec 2, 2010 — Admin

Regulatory Oversight

Among the recent regulatory actions: (1) an AD affecting more than 4,000 Robinson helicopters, and (2) an emergency AD concerning Bell helicopters.

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24 November 2010                    FAA

FR Doc 2010-29203                    Docket No. FAA-2010-0711

Final Rule, AD, Robinson Helicopter Co., Model R22 and R44 Helicopters

AD requires action to prevent the tail rotor (T/R) control pedal bearing block support from breaking. A broken support can bind the T/R control pedals, resulting in loss of control.

All helicopters must be inspected for cracks within 100 hours of service. Cracked supports must be replaced. And if the support is not 0.50 inches thick, it must be replaced.

The FAA says this action is prompted by two reports of broken supports in flight, which resulted in the T/R control pedals becoming jammed.

This AD affects 4,500 helicopters in U.S. registry.

Effective 29 December 2010.

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24 November 2010                    FAA

EAD 2010-25-51

Emergency Airworthiness Directive

Before further flight, certain fittings must be replaced to prevent failure of the main rotor system. The failure of the main rotor has led to fatal accidents.

The FAA says:

“Bell states in ASB [Alert Service Bulletin] 212-10-142 that they have determined that fittings may not have been manufactured in accordance with the engineering design requirements and may fracture as a result of a non-conformance. They also state that a possibility exists that undetected cracks during the quenching operation could have occurred at manufacture.

“We are issuing this EAD because we evaluated all the available information and determined the unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop in other products of this same type design.”

A magnetic particle inspection is required to detect cracking.

It appears that Bell has a quality assurance problem on the production line.

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