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R66 Maintenance Test Hover


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Good afternoon,

 

Can anyone provide any factory specified or approved guidance to conduct R66 hover test flights without the engine cowling installed?

 

Thanks,

 

JD

 

It’s been done before without any problems. However, get your A&P to look at what you’re doing. If he or she thinks the helicopter can be lifted safely to a hover, without going into forward flight, go ahead with your short "operational checks" (not test flights).

 

If you call RHC their likely to go on the record with what’s in their maintenance manual.

 

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Edited by iChris
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Thanks Chris. I understand that Robinson conducts numerous test flights without the engine cowlings installed, so I am bit confused why they won't provide approved guidance for the operator. We have been fighting a multitude of different oil seal leaks and it is very cumbersome to R&R the cowling between short hover/taxi flights. I would appreciate any suggestions on how best to approach Robinson for approval on this issue.

 

Jeff

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I understand that Robinson conducts numerous test flights without the engine cowlings installed, so I am bit confused why they won't provide approved guidance for the operator. We have been fighting a multitude of different oil seal leaks and it is very cumbersome to R&R the cowling between short hover/taxi flights. I would appreciate any suggestions on how best to approach Robinson for approval on this issue.

 

Jeff

 

Remember, at the time of those test flights, during certification, the aircraft was operated under an Experimental Type Certificate. The aircraft is now under a standard airworthiness certificate in the normal category. Therefore, it must be maintained and operated, conform, within its type design.

 

However, it’s a "caution" with respect to removing cowlings, it’s not a limitation in the FAA approved RFM or the FAA approved Instructions for Continued Airworthiness in the maintenance manual.

 

Again, get your A&P to look at what you’re doing. If he or she thinks the helicopter can be lifted safely to a hover and hover taxied without hazard to persons or property, go ahead it’s your aircraft. In fact, if the hover is done over a non-movement area, it’s considered a ground operation. Any remote, non-towered, airport is a good location for the work you’re doing.

 

If it’s ongoing research, you can apply through your FSDO to temporarily place the aircraft under an Experimental Certificate (FAR 21.191/21.193). Such provisions could even allow you to fly with the cowlings off.

 

It’s unlikely you’ll get approval from RHC in writing, but give them a call anyway. Let us know what you find.

Edited by iChris
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I suggest also checking the maintenance manual to see if the cowlings/panels are structural and required to be there for either ground handling or flight. The factory could validate this or not.

 

My B407 had some panels that were required in place for ground handling!

 

Mike

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