Transport Canada has imposed its second emergency AD in two weeks on Bell’s newest helicopter after the collective handle on a nearly new 505 Jet Ranger X broke in the pilot’s hands during a preflight control check. The aircraft is built and was certified in Canada. The handle busted above the floor on a 2019 model flown by a police department in California in February. Bell issued an Alert Service Bulletin and TC followed with an AD requiring one-time inspections. Bell then discovered the broken handle and cracks found in another collective were caused by metal fatigue. That prompted another bulletin from Bell and a subsequent AD from the regulator requiring fluorescent penetrant inspection every 25 hours. It also banned flying from the right seat until those inspections are done.
Bell and the supplier of the collective handle are working on a fix and new parts should be available soon. “Initially, we will provide replacement collective stick assemblies on a case-by-case basis for those in the most urgent need,” the manufacturer said in a letter to operators. “As rework options get approved, we will increase the supply to meet the demand.” All costs will be covered by warranty, the letter said.