Sunday, November 1, 2009
Rotorcraft Report: AW139 Tail Boom AD Issued
FAA has published an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) related to the tail boom of the AgustaWestland AW139 and AB139. According to a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) alert, the tail boom of a Gulf Helicopters-operated AW139 bent and collapsed while taxiing on August 25 in Doha, Qatar. In addition, EASA discovered “evidence of debonding on some tail boom panels,” on the AW139 and AB139.
|The tail boom of this Gulf Helicopters AgustaWestland AW139 broke off while taxiing on Aug. 25 in Doha, Qatar.|
The helicopter in question apparently experienced a tail strike in March 2009 while taking off from an oil rig platform, according to the manufacturer. The FAA emergency AD took effect on Sept. 16 immediately after being issued. The U.S. regulatory agency is requiring more frequent inspections of the tail panels and measures designed to uncover potentially unsafe conditions. Included are instructions on how to identify evidence of debonding along the tail boom surface using a specific type of aluminum hammer.