Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Items of interest regarding Brantly helicopters.

Moderator: Ron Spiker

Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby Randy Strock » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:32 pm

I would imagine that most, if not all, of the Brantly owners belong to AOPA. The Organization is always telling us what a great job they do representing aircraft owners, which I believe we qualify to be viewed as, even if we're beating the air into submission with rotary wings.
Perhaps it would be beneficial to all if we collectively, as active Brantly owners, sent a letter to AOPA requesting their assistance in dealing with this. I think the observation regarding the new Chinese Owners and their broad sweeping maintenance issue which collectively affects the older US heli's is a sobering one and should be seriously looked at. Comments?
Randy Strock
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 12:52 pm

Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby 9121u » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:48 pm

I agree on what is all said .right now my blades are in very good condition .i would say if you have good ones just take care of theme there going to be like gold .so one needs to watch hanger rash and leaving the helicopter out in extreme weather i think contributes to the cracks. and quick start ups when the rotor brake don't work properly.just stuff to remember a bought.any one else have any thing to add to the issue...thanks tom
9121u
 
Posts: 254
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2003 6:20 pm

Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby bryancobb » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:56 pm

It appears that the Service Bulletin was written by an American Educated person whose Technical Writing skills are superb.
My guess is, a person at Superior, in Texas.

I will further speculate that the fallout from the New Zealand owner was what elevated this to a high level of importance at the FAA.
YHO-3BR Pilots International
User avatar
bryancobb
 
Posts: 283
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2003 8:23 pm
Location: Cartersville, Georgia

Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby 9121u » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:50 pm

I do no that brantly blades are good design.much better than ROBINSON HELICOPTER. because i never heard of designing a blade just bonding it together.with no mechanical fasteners and i guarantee no one will land a Robinson with a blade coming a part...only thing that the brantly needs is a built in trim tab .and another owner said this also.instead of tabbing it. witch i do not recommend this at all tabbing will stress out the trailing edge and could cause cracks. and plus you'll crease the edge also.....any thoughts on this thanks...tom
9121u
 
Posts: 254
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2003 6:20 pm

Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby seneca2e » Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:13 pm

bryancobb wrote:It appears that the Service Bulletin was written by an American Educated person whose Technical Writing skills are superb.
My guess is, a person at Superior, in Texas.

I will further speculate that the fallout from the New Zealand owner was what elevated this to a high level of importance at the FAA.


Bryan,
What makes you think this had anything at all to do with the FAA? That is not the normal chain of events. Normally the FAA reacts to a Service bulletin and either takes no action or makes it into an AD which can be almost a rehash of the SB or a watered down version of it. Rarely is it worse than the SB that precipitated it.

I agree the guy from New Zealand could have caused this. Unfortunate for all us Brantly owners indeed. I get so sick and tired of stupid service bulletins and AD's. Just one example of many was the one on the two piece venturi on Marvel Schebler Carburetors. After 4 or 5 decades they decided they should be replaced with a one piece venturi. It caused some rough running engines and they revised it to allow a remedy. You could put back in the two piece venturi and just inspect it every 100 hours. Now that carb worked fine all that time with the 2 piece venturi and the only time it'd give you trouble if someone assembled it wrong. So the unnecessary one piece venturi
A/D was issued.

I used to own Cessna 402 freight planes that required eddy current inspection on the wings. I never had any confidence the inspections were worth a darn. I flew them 2 hours round trip to St. Louis to get them done and finally coughed up 5 grand for a eddy current machine to do them myself and avoid the dead expense trips to get them done.

Another time we once had a 4000 gallon av gas tank certified by a similar non destructive testing company that sent out a van LOADED with computer equipment, sensors, and probes. They certified the tank leak proof with no anomalies. We kept losing fuel though. Finally dug it up and it had a hole big enough to stick your finger in. I guess you can say I just don't have much confidence in a lot of these types of tests. They're more art than science.

I can go on. Sent a crankshaft to two different engine machine shops. One said it had a crack. One said it was fine and tagged it.

This Brantly SB is nothing more than a financial drain at best(if new 404 blades get built) or a complete end to the vast majority of the Brantly flying fleet at worst.
seneca2e
 
Posts: 389
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:35 pm

Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby bryancobb » Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:07 am

This is PURE SPECULATION, but I would THINK Brantly would not write an SB without pressure from the FAA.

I KNOW this to be the case on the inspection SB that came out a few years ago, on the short T/R driveshaft, and all the
string alignment stuff on the long driveshaft. First, shaft failure was identified as a contributing factor in accident(s).
Second, FAA issues an Airworthiness Alert. Third, Brantly issues SB 105A. Fourth, Brantly issues SB 106 and SI 10.
Fifth, the FAA issues AD 2006-08-07.

It's pretty clear, to me anyway, that FAA pressure resulted in SB105A, SB106, and SI10.

I also know that the fellow from Down Under made enough noise that Brantly paid for Jason to travel to New Zealand to
help quiet him down. It is my understanding that he got a new set of 404's for a fraction of their selling price?
I'll bet the FAA got involved after this. I'm pretty sure he reported it through the NZ aviation authorities.
YHO-3BR Pilots International
User avatar
bryancobb
 
Posts: 283
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2003 8:23 pm
Location: Cartersville, Georgia

Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby JasonTX » Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:55 pm

bryancobb wrote:This is PURE SPECULATION, but I would THINK Brantly would not write an SB without pressure from the FAA.

I KNOW this to be the case on the inspection SB that came out a few years ago, on the short T/R driveshaft, and all the
string alignment stuff on the long driveshaft. First, shaft failure was identified as a contributing factor in accident(s).
Second, FAA issues an Airworthiness Alert. Third, Brantly issues SB 105A. Fourth, Brantly issues SB 106 and SI 10.
Fifth, the FAA issues AD 2006-08-07.

It's pretty clear, to me anyway, that FAA pressure resulted in SB105A, SB106, and SI10.

I also know that the fellow from Down Under made enough noise that Brantly paid for Jason to travel to New Zealand to
help quiet him down. It is my understanding that he got a new set of 404's for a fraction of their selling price?
I'll bet the FAA got involved after this. I'm pretty sure he reported it through the NZ aviation authorities.


Bryan is correct regarding the FAA pressure. This issue started some 2 years ago when the factory was in Vernon. It is also correct that the FAA was the reason for the SB105A and SB106. The FAA would require us to come up with the inspection procedures for the Service Bulletin and then they would approve it and then issue the AD. When the blades were failing in the field, based upon our investigations it appeared that the failing blades were from some that were rebuilt in the field. 2 years ago (perhaps longer) we had 2 people who were certified to do the Eddy Current test. We even purchased the equipment at that time. We were constantly being asked by the FAA when the SB would be completed for their review so that it could then be released, but we were at the mercy of the DER's because they were more knowledgable of the inspection process. I am just speculating, but knowing how things have happened in the past, I would expect the FAA to issue an AD.
JasonTX
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:30 am

Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby N2285U » Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:07 pm

This will kill the little remaining value left in these nice little machines. Unfortunately, you are correct about removing the blades. If they really had to be removed every 25 hours then that would be about 3x per year for me and they would most likely get damaged taking them on and off. I don't think the 404 blades are better as far as cracking goes and they attach at the dampner the same way which will eventually oblong the hole also. The blade cracking and blade attachment was my biggest concerns about the B2B and it looks like it was a valid concern now.
If your wings aren't turning, they are broken and you had better get them fixed....
N2285U
 
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2003 10:34 pm
Location: Auburn, IN

Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby Ron Spiker » Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:52 am

The following email was sent from Brantly owner and forum member Randy Strock to Brantly President Kyle Hardman:

Hello Mr Hardman:

As you may imagine, the service bulletin 111 is not well received within the Brantly community. With one fell swoop, you may have dramatically diminished the value of the Brantly Helicopters still in service and reduced the numbers of them flying. One has to wonder if that was not the ultimate intent of the bulletin.

Since you are effectively grounding the helicopters that do not pass the testing procedures that you have issued, is Brantly prepared to provide the replacement blades when they will be needed? And by prepared, the intent is meant to be one of physical inventory availability. Since the factory has effectively disappeared, and having been told that all available major parts were shipped to China to be used in the production of machines over there, I have to wonder where all of these blades that are going to be required will be coming from.

Is Brantly also intending to provide these blades at a cost that is reasonably affordable by the Brantly community existing in the United States?


Here was Mr. Hardman's reply, which he has approved for posting on the forum:

Dear Mr. Strock,

Thank you for your comments. As an aircraft owner, I understand that the issue of a Service Bulletin is not something to be rejoiced. I have followed the comments and speculation of many Brantly owners on the blog site and can sympathize. Those who speculate that the FAA had a strong influence on the process are very close to the truth. Those who think this is some sort of Chinese conspiracy against U.S. Brantly owners, need to have their heads checked.

This Service Bulletin has been in the works for many years. You may have noticed that the eddy current inspection procedure was written in 2007. The folks at Brantly have known that this was coming and like so many things I have found recently, they just ignored it. Have you noticed that the former Brantly employees have been strangely quite on this subject?

It was not long after I arrived on the scene in December that I received my first call from the FAA’s Rotorcraft Certification office. Marc Belhumeur wanted to know where I was on the issue of the long overdue bulletin. I did my research, read the test lab reports, reviewed the inspection procedure, and determined what level of completeness had been obtained at that point. I spoke with our DER and had additional meetings with Mr. Belhumeur. After I was satisfied that this was the correct and necessary course of action to insure continued safe operation, I submitted the Service Bulletin to the FAA for final approval and then issued the bulletin to the owners.

You will note that all of the talk is about skin cracking adjacent to the inboard rib rivets. This cracking is a secondary failure mode. Loads, running contrary to the rest of the world, seek the path of greatest resistance. The skin cracks are not a function of fatigue. The cracks form when the bonded interface between the skin and core fails and the load transfers to a secondary path (the fasteners). By the time you see the visible damage (cracks), the invisible internal bonds in your rotor blade have already structurally failed. Undetectable damage is the bane of any bonded structure. That makes the critical part of the inspection, the tap test.

The damage to these blades is often caused by allowing the rotor rpm to drop too low while holding up on the collective. This happens in training, when the student forgets to drop the collective after a simulated auto-rotation. The rotor disk cones, the blades hit the upper hinge stop, and the blades then bend in a cantilever beam fashion. Problem is the pilot likely sees no visible damage after the incident and assumes he has “gotten away” with the mistake. The internal damage later manifest as cracks in the skin.

I must concede that the timing of the bulletin could hardly be worse. The Vernon facility before it was closed had been reduced to a "parts only" production certificate and was under increased scrutiny by the FAA for several findings. The decision was made to establish a new facility in the Dallas area. The Vernon facility was closed.

If you are not aware, FAA Production Certificates are tied to physical addresses and are non-transferable. Step one in establishing a new facility was the voluntary surrender of the Vernon facility Production Certificate. I am in the process of an application for a new Production Certificate, have written a new Quality Manual to meet current reg's, and have begun the search for a new Brantly home. For now I am operating out of the offices of our sister company Superior Air Parts in Coppell, Texas.

You should not expect a strong Brantly presence in the U.S. in the near future. I am starting literally from scratch. Any dealings with the FAA take time. I also have the added challenge of spending half my time (or more) in China. We are committed to building a new facility in the U.S., but it is not going to happen as fast as I would like.

Where does this leave Brantly owners? Until Brantly can obtain a new Production Certificate, there is no OEM for Brantly parts. For the here and now, Brantly’s fall under the FAA regulations that pertain to all “orphan” aircraft. Your options for parts are to obtain serviceable used parts in the field or fabricate new parts under the regulations (see FAR 21.303 (b)2).

Some have suggested contacting AOPA in regards to this matter. As a member of AOPA, EAA, AAA, SSA, AHS, and HAI, I would encourage anyone with such an inclination to do so. You might also consider contacting the FAA’s Rotorcraft Certification office. Marc Belhumeur’s number is 817.222.5177.

Reducing the market value of the Brantly fleet is directly counter to my business plan. It will be more difficult to sell new Brantly’s if the market value of the used fleet is depressed. My goal is to actually raise the value of the current fleet in preparation of introducing new aircraft for sale. That is why the ONLY reason for issuing this bulletin was the continued safe operation of the fleet.

Best Regards,
Kyle Hardman
User avatar
Ron Spiker
Site Admin
 
Posts: 527
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2003 5:33 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby bryancobb » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:46 am

Well...
First impression is that Mr. Hardman is a straight-up guy! I'm a pretty successful judge of character.
Unfortunately, his hands are tied in this matter until China starts cranking out -404's, and then THAT would
be cost-prohibitive for most Brantly owners.

I communicated several times, with Mr. Marc Belhumeur, from the FAA in Texas, when the T/R shaft situation was being investigated
a few years ago. He too seemed like a straight-up, reasonable guy. I doubt very seriously that anything is at work
here except his desire to make the fleet of Brantlys as safe as possible.

I have another Idea, but I'm not sure it could happen because someone would have to be THE ONE to get it going
and see it through to the end.

If someone would design, build, and test (to the FAA's satisfaction) a set of composite/carbon fiber blades that have the exact same aerodynamics
and mass properties, and go through the process of obtaining an STC/PMA. It is possible it could be affordable for the 200 or 300
Brantlys that are flying. I think most Brantly owners would be willing to spend maybe $10,000 for a NEW set of airworthy blades.
I doubt they would be willing to spend much more than that. For the developer that's $2 mil. Could it be done?
Last edited by bryancobb on Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
YHO-3BR Pilots International
User avatar
bryancobb
 
Posts: 283
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2003 8:23 pm
Location: Cartersville, Georgia

Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby bryancobb » Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:14 am

I just read FAR 21.303 (b)2), and spoke with my A.I. who is also an FAA Repair Station, about the latitude this regulation gives a Brantly OWNER.
He tells me that the regulation provides an owner/operator the freedom to fabricate or have fabricated, parts that are no longer available, to be installed
on a certificated aircraft, WHICH HE OWNS, to maintain its' airworthy condition.

Of course there must be adequate reverse-engineering, and design homework, with adequate paperwork for proof for the part to be legally airworthy.
I do see that the reg's don't intend to make aircraft un-airworthy forever, once they are orphaned by their manufacturer.
YHO-3BR Pilots International
User avatar
bryancobb
 
Posts: 283
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2003 8:23 pm
Location: Cartersville, Georgia

Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby seneca2e » Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:51 pm

There you have it straight from the horse's mouth(Mr. Hardman). They gave up the production certificate. Who knows when, if ever, they'll get another one and actually get blades made and at what cost(think huge $$$$$). Mr. Hardman gives the former Brantly employees down the road for "remaining strangely quiet" but in fact they were dedicated to keeping the fleet flying and with extremely limited resources did just that for several years. It would have actually been better had the factory in fact been shut down and the ship completely orphaned as I doubt the FAA(who knows precious little about Brantly helicopters) would have taken the initiative to ground them. Hardman made a bad decision and has-make no mistakes about it-essentially grounded the Brantly helicopter. We've(brantly owners) lived under the scarcity of parts for years(which is why a dedicated few individuals have risked all to keep the fleet flying). Now they wished to disparage and discredit those that have almost single handedly kept the fleet in the air. With no blades in the pipeline at any price(and not even a production certificate to make them for crying out loud) he grounds the fleet! Where the hell are you gonna get a blade that passes this onerous service bulletin? Maybe one of those "reworked" blades from the field? Oh they want you to voluntarily report those when you come across them as "suspected unapproved parts". Give us a break Mr. Hardman. You should have put 2 and 2 together before this. The way the Chinese bled the company down with promise after promise of resuming production at Vernon speaks volumes. Maybe we do need some of the former employees to put forth how what they were told differentiated from the ultimate reality of what happened. To issue this service bulletin in this vaccum of a production certificate can have but one outcome. That's the bottom line from the no spin zone.
seneca2e
 
Posts: 389
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:35 pm

Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby bryancobb » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:49 pm

Come on seneca...
Ease-Up. Don't shoot yourself in the foot. If the one person in the world with the drawings and the potential of being allowed to manufacture domestic blades is your enemy, who do yo expect to ever get a set of blades from?

Please don't make a bad situation worse.
YHO-3BR Pilots International
User avatar
bryancobb
 
Posts: 283
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2003 8:23 pm
Location: Cartersville, Georgia

Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby 9121u » Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:25 pm

I believe that if brantly starts making new blades that no one is going to buy them think abought it.... why would any buy a new set of blades pay 30g or so then every 25 or so hours pay another 1000.00 or so to have them checked....stupid very stupid.. any how new brantly sales are going to be A NO GO NOW.SO HE SHOULD NOT WAIST HIS TIME.just run your brantly out and go experimental certified..that's what I'm thinking...
9121u
 
Posts: 254
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2003 6:20 pm

Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby bryancobb » Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:48 am

The Delamination Test is done every 25 hours and can be done by an A&P with a quarter and a 10x magnifying glass.
The expensive Eddy-Current Test only has to be done every 300 hs or 10 yrs.

I think most Brantly owners could stomach that IF NEW 404's become available for $10k for a whole set of 3.
Not many would be willing to pay more than that, if you ask me.
YHO-3BR Pilots International
User avatar
bryancobb
 
Posts: 283
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2003 8:23 pm
Location: Cartersville, Georgia

PreviousNext

Return to News

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron