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B3 FADEC Problems


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I can't say that it was a FADEC problem, but a few weeks ago one of our B3's was on a EMS flight and experienced a complete governor failure and subsequent massive overspeed.  Fortunately, a great autorotation to a small field prevented this event from being catastrophic.

 

They had just completed the 55-min. enroute phase to a small hospital located in Sholow, AZ (approx. 6,500 msl).  The enroute phase was uneventful but as soon as the pilot reduced collective the engine and rotor began to "scream", the rotor overspeed audio sounded and the GOV light came-on.  He attempted take manual control but there was no response.  The engine ate itself in about 6-seconds and he entered autorotation at about 300' agl.  Fortunately, he was able to set the aircraft down in a small field (near the hospital) with no injuries to the crew or damage to the airframe.

 

Needless to say, the rotors and drivetrain were toast and they've subsequently been replaced.  The engine has been sent back to France for autopsy.  The Turbomecca Tech Rep claimed that this had never happened to a 2B engine before, but one has to wonder if this could have been one of those P3 Capsule failures that Turbomecca has warned us about?

You know, the failure that prevents manual overide with throttle input.  That's the test requirement that was recently reduced from a 200-hour interval to 20-hours.  

 

Of course it's too early to know what caused the initial governor failure and subsequent inability to take manual control.  Was this two consecutive failures or one big one?  Hopefully, Turbomecca and Eurocopter will share their diagnosis with the customers.   That would be a welcome change as they haven't been very forthcoming in the past.

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Jim,

 

I heard about that incident. I always think about that incident at night especially when I am returning from Vegas to Prescott. Lotta dark ground between Kingman and Prescott.

 

The manual mode on the B3 can be confusing. We had a tech rep come out and we really had to think about how to do that recommended throttle check (roll off then roll up to full idle (8 sec max)) Even the tech rep had to think about it. Why do they have a manual switch on the dash? They confuse this with the manual mode on the throttle. The language conversion adds to the confusion. Add this with the incident in Show Low and it makes you wonder why they are making an excellent aircraft a guinea pig for the FADEC. Wish they had an option for a normal fuel control on the B3.

 

Just my opinion.

 

-Rey

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the FADEC in the 407 is simple enough to operate and avoids confusion with just the one manual/auto switch on the console.  After all it has to be simple for the likes of us to use it hey?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Do you know if the "FADEC" failure was an under or over-speed?  Either way, it could be related to Turbomecca's admitted problem with the fuel controls P3 Capsule.  According to their ALERT message, inability to assume manual control has only been discovered during routine testing of the "Combined Regulation Mode" when the throttle is manually retarded to "ground idle" position.  Makes one wonder if they are telling us everything.

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