Mass Grounding Of Bell Helicopters Revised
The FAA Thursday drastically reduced the number of aircraft affected by an emergency airworthiness directive it issued Tuesday from about 2,715 aircraft to about 50 helicopters registered in the U.S. The earlier AD had required emergency inspection of some 2,715 Bell 206, 407 and 427 models. (Bell 206 and 407 helicopters are the company's bestselling civil helicopters and are widely used in first responder and police work.) The more recent emergency airworthiness directive requires inspections for an improperly installed the cyclic control lever bearing -- on aircraft with fewer than 50 hours flight time. Problems with the bearing could lead to control problems and possibly control failure. Affected operators are now directed to inspect the part before the aircraft's next flight and replace the part if necessary. Bell discovered the problem about a week ago during delivery of a helicopter.