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Robinson Blade Issues. Is Robinson Alone?


hockeynut258

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On on Feb 21st the New Zealand CAA and Australia CASA grounded all Robinson R44 helicopters equipped with -7 main rotor blades, which happen to be the newest variant. (Please see: http://casa.gov.au/wcmswr/_assets/main/airworth/airwd/ADfiles/ROTOR/R44/R44-024.pdf)

 

This decision comes after two cases in NZ of the -7 blades cracking at the trailing edge in a matter of weeks. The first incident the pilot was able to land, the second fatal.

 

This is not a new issue for Robinson helicopters, they have had many problems with delamination of rotor blades in the past and have released several new models of the blades to correct the problem, for both the R44 and R22. Most recently Robinson has offered a 50% discount to owners to upgrade their blades to the new, safer version, the -7 (and -6 blades for the R22). It appears these blades have issues too.

 

 

Before ranting about dislikes of Robinson helicopters, lets get to the question. Have any other helicopter manufacturers had or have similar reoccurring problems with components as Robinson? Specifically critical components. What was the out come? Were the problems truly fixed or just patched? Did the entire fleet become grounded before the problem was identified? What is your take on this and others like it in the helicopter industry?

 

Please, lets not turn this into a bash on Robinson thread, there are enough of those already.

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It's not a problem specific to Robinson. I remember having our company movie theater in Vietnam use rotor blades as bench seats because a lot had been condemned after being installed on the fleet.

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Wally I have not said Robinson are the only ones to have blade problems but reocuring ADs do not give me a feeling of security.

I understand there were\are a lot of blades scraped due to not getting them to fly rather than breaking up, have a read, regarding rogue blades.

Also you & other flyers had other things to worry them other than flying within limits.

http://www.rwas.com.au/rtb.html

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Wally I have not said Robinson are the only ones to have blade problems but reocuring ADs do not give me a feeling of security.

I understand there were\are a lot of blades scraped due to not getting them to fly rather than breaking up, have a read, regarding rogue blades.

Also you & other flyers had other things to worry them other than flying within limits.

http://www.rwas.com.au/rtb.html

 

I wasn't arguing with you, bro. I thought the OP was asking if Robinson was unique with blade issues, and they're not.

 

As to having "other things to worry about..." (eyes squinting steely-like) the only thing I worried 'bout was havin' enough ammuhnishin. No, really. There's a real and sound reason why militaries like'em young: they don't worry; they don't think a lot; and they're immortal.

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This issue is not limited to Robinson. Unfortunately they always come as a result of a fatal accident.

 

As for blades, Bell had an issue with the blades a few years ago. Very similar AD issued which grounded a very large number of L model aircraft based on the serial number of the blades, which included the blades on our L-4. Our aircraft was grounded for about 3 months until we were able to secure some 'loaner blades' and then it took another 3-4 months to get the replacement blades. Bell did prorate the cost of the new blades.

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