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  • R44

    EASA to enforce R44 bladder tanks - AD now issued

    The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated a number of R44 helicopter accidents in which the fuel tanks were breached, resulting in leaking fuel and a post-crash fire. While analysis showed that these events should all have been survivable with minor or no injuries to the occupants, they resulted in fatalities and serious thermal injuries.

    Prompted by these occurrences, in 2010 Robinson Helicopter Company issued R44 Service Bulletin (SB) SB-78, currently at Revision B, providing instructions for helicopters with aluminium fuel tanks to be retrofitted to add bladder-type tanks and associated fuel system components.

    To address this safety issue, the FAA issued Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) SW-13-11 to recommend incorporation of SB-78B, as the new bladder tank and fuel system components will improve the R44 fuel system’s resistance to a post-accident fuel leak and possible fire. This FAA SAIB was endorsed by EASA.

    More recently, based on investigation results, the NTSB issued Safety Recommendation A-14-001. In light of the additional information provided by the NTSB, the Agency has now determined that this safety issue must be considered an unsafe condition that warrants AD action.

    For the reasons described above, this AD requires retrofit-installation of bladder-type fuel tanks.

    Link to AD

  • #2
    SAS and Autopilot Available for R44

    S-Tec have introduced a version of their HeliSAS helicopter stability augmentation system and autopilot for the Robinson R44 series.

    The system's two-axis autopilot provides heading and nav hold as well as vertical speed and altitude hold modes. HeliSAS provides attitude stabilization and force feel features that improve handling and mitigate inadvertent cyclic control inputs that could result in dangerous attitudes.

    HeliSAS for the Robinson R44 series is priced at $40,752 for SAS only and $50,279 for SAS with two-axis autopilot.​


    • #3
      The Russian Robinson

      Introducing artist extraordinaire Evgeny Alyokhin with whom I corresponded last year shortly after he completed painting the '157' RA-04157, aka the 'Russian Robinson'.

      In January last year, Russian artist Evgeny Alyokhin undertook a commission to design a new colour scheme for 157 and to re-paint this aircraft. Below is the result:

      Robinson R44 Raven II RA-04157 (10221) as seen in Barnaul, Siberia in January 2016 (Photos by Evgeny Alyokhin)

      Evgeny Creating the 'Russian Robinson'

      Evgeny Filming the 'Russian Robinson' in Action

      Filmed in Barnaul, Siberia in January 2016 by Evgeny Alyokhin

      If you would like to commission Evgeny to design and/or paint your aircrft, please contact him here.


      • #4

        R66 RA-05786 (0534) as seen at Almaty Airport in Kazakhstan on 15th July 2016 (Photo: Yelena Morozova)

        This is not an R44, but posted here because this craft compliments the artwork on RA-04157 above.