EASA to enforce R44 bladder tanks with AD now issued

EASA to enforce R44 bladder tanks with AD now issued

21-Mar-2014 Source: EASA

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.

See the full AD here

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