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AS-350 Main Rotor Tie Down


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I would be interested in hearing from other AS-350 pilots and operators about their procedures and limits related to main rotor tie down.  The factory manuals list a series of limits and tie down methods.  I have heard that some operators tie down 100% of the time, even in calm wind conditions, and have seen a reduction in Starflex cracks.  Also that some operators put the blade support poles under the blades every night if the helicopter is parked outside.

 

Let me hear from you and what procedure you follow, and why.

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Where I worked in Alaska they actually found that putting the tiedowns on too tight also leads to starflex cracks. It's been different for evey company I've worked for. The factory reps seem to always say tie it down every time the rotor stops.
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In Alaska we tie down the Astars if there is over a 10-15 minute time period between flights, and just tie them snug. Last winter we had a cracked star-flex and also found that crack in a tail-rotor blade that you are supposed to check. I was told by the owner of a L-3 last fall that I flew on a seismic job that he didn't want the main-rotor tied real tight. To me the Star-Flex cracks are hard to tell from the paint cracks no matter how you do it, and the tail rotor crack was really hard to see, the chief pilot caught that one, and had to do some fine sanding to see both. Jesse
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  • 4 weeks later...
We found a great way to determine if a crack is in the paint or in the starflex itself.  Put a little spit on top of the crack and then move the blade up and down.  With a magnifying glass watch the crack.  If it is just paint it will show no change.  If it is a crack in the starflex it will suck the spit in when the crack opens on the downward movment of the blade and on the upswing, the crack will close and the spit will pooch out or even bubble.  Also when fiberglass is rubbing against each other as in a crack it will produce heat and will leave a black soot witness mark around the crack. May sound crude but it works in Alaska. Shaboo
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We tie down whenever it's windy or other rotor traffic is going to be landing/taking off, especially mediums.

 

Take the slack out of the blade tie-downs, then tighten 4" more on the tie down string and that should be the ideal tension.  Have to watch out though if the tiedowns are wet and they are left on during the day and dry out, they will tighten considerably & same goes for dry turning wet, they'll stretch and have to be retensioned.

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We found a great way to determine if a crack is in the paint or in the starflex itself.  Put a little spit on top of the crack and then move the blade up and down.  With a magnifying glass watch the crack.  If it is just paint it will show no change.  If it is a crack in the starflex it will suck the spit in when the crack opens on the downward movment of the blade and on the upswing, the crack will close and the spit will pooch out or even bubble.  Also when fiberglass is rubbing against each other as in a crack it will produce heat and will leave a black soot witness mark around the crack. May sound crude but it works in Alaska. Shaboo

WHat do you use if your spit freezes?

:D

 

Great method. Whatever works!!

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