Australia Issues Urgent AD On R22 Choppers

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Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority has issued an urgent Airworthiness Directive (AD) for Robinson R22 helicopters after a failed rotor blade caused a fatal accident June 20. The AD requires visual and eddy current inspections of the blades and a special vibration warning placard in the cockpit. The FAA usually follows suit with emergency ADs issued in other countries. Australia issued this AD after an investigation showed the main rotor blade in the crash helicopter failed at the inboard end of the bolted joint. The Aussies are requiring the inspections at 1,500 hours and every 200 hours after that. The manufacturer requires the blades to be changed at 2,200 hours. The placard warns pilots experiencing an increase in rotor vibration to land immediately. The manufacturer has determined that unusual vibration can be a sign of a crack in the rotor. The AD also says that any R22 that's vibrating abnormally must be inspected before returning to flight, regardless of hours.