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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

NTSB Issues Safety Recommendation for R44 Mast-Rocking

On August 22, the NTSB issued a new Safety Recommendation for the Robinson R44. The recommendation was issued at the conclusion of the NTSB investigation of a May 2009 Alaska State Trooper “hard landing” incident in which there were no injuries, with the goal of preventing similar mast-rocking incidents.

In part, the NTSB recommendation reads, “NTSB recommends that FAA require Robinson Helicopter to amend the R44 helicopter flight manual to inform pilots of the potential for mast-rocking vibration in the main rotor assembly and how to safely exit the condition. The NTSB also recommends that FAA require that the Robinson Helicopter R44 pilot training program be revised to provide pilot instruction in the recognition and mitigation of in-flight mast-rocking vibrations in the main rotor assembly.

Therefore, the National Transportation Safety Board makes the following recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration:

• Require Robinson Helicopter to resolve the root cause of the mast-rocking vibration in the main rotor assembly to ensure that all applicable R44 helicopters are free of excessive vibrations in all flight regimes, as required by 14 Code of Federal Regulations Section 27.251, “Vibration.” (A-11-82)
• Require Robinson Helicopter to maintain a database of all reported incidents of mast rocking in the main rotor assembly of R44 helicopters. (A-11-83)
• Require Robinson Helicopter to issue a service letter to all approved service centers describing the mast-rocking vibration that can occur in the main rotor assembly of R44 helicopters and instructing service centers to report all incidents of mast rocking to the manufacturer. (A-11-84)
• Require Robinson Helicopter to amend the R44 helicopter flight manual to inform pilots of the potential for mast-rocking vibration in the main rotor assembly and how to safely exit the condition. (A-11-85)
• Require that the Robinson Helicopter R44 pilot training program be revised to provide pilot instruction in the recognition and mitigation of in-flight mast-rocking vibrations in the main rotor assembly. (A-11-86)”

Click here to read the full NTSB report.

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