Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Items of interest regarding Brantly helicopters.

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Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby scrapper » Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:05 am

Newbie here, but vs complaints saysing this will cost too much or an inconvience,
do we not need to get a serious engineers to chime in and communicate with
the FAA and Branbtly? IE saying inspections crete more risk than they mitigate
and so on.

Or?

Does this stem from one guy in New Zealand? Honestly

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Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby fraundo » Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:23 am

I hope that Mr. Hardman was not made to capitulate if he did not absolutely have to. If that is the case he has done us all a great disservice and destroyed a great amount of our equity in our machines in a short time in his new role. My perspective is that these ships have been flying for a long time without this bulletin and there were not a lot of problems. Maybe my analysis of the data is lax but I did not come to the conclusion this was an issue putting us all at significant risk. If the data did not clearly support this action then I would have expected Mr. Hardman to plead our case with the FAA not just capitulate. And seriously, take your blades off every 25 hours? Could be the new guy blinked too soon. However, whether the old Brantly team (prior to the dismissal of the Vernon tech support gang) was aware of the implications of this service bulletin and did an excellent job/much better job of blocking it so as to minimize the impact to the owners or if the pressure to make the changes increased more recently is at this point academic. The bulletin is issued.

In thinking through all of this and what all are anticipating could happen next, I would like to know more about what is involved to register as experimental. I am not aware of all that is involved but for what I do with the ship, which is completely pleasure flying in non towered airspace, it would seem a good solution if my understanding is correct. If anyone is knowledgable about the process of changing from a type certified ship to an experimental please share.
Last edited by fraundo on Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby bryancobb » Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:28 am

Blade Cracking Been happening for decades. Whatever folks been doing to stay in the air has been working for decades.
Blades crack bad at 500 or 600 hrs. Magically, there is an an airworthy replacement with 1000-1200 hrs remaining.
To my knowledge, not a single person has wrecked or been hurt because of it.

Guy in NZ got mad/scared when 2 of his blades, not just cracked, they flew apart, in flight and he managed to land with a lot of vibration.

He made A LOT of noise. It landed in the right ears and here we are.
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Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby bryancobb » Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:44 am

It appears to me that FAR 21.303 (b)2)give an OWNER a lot of latitude in how he keeps his Brantly in the air.
This path of action, may be the one of least resistance, even if a blade AD is issued. Ask your A&P or A.I. that question.

As for EXPERIMENTAL, you can have it placed in the EXHIBITION CATEGORY or RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CATEGORY.

Never Done it but my friend with an OH-58 did several years ago.

Here's the steps.
Procedure for getting Experimental Exhibition Category Aircraft Certification


Link on the Experimental Exhibition program letter (http://www.ruleaviation.com/forms/exp%2 ... ample2.pdf) and fill that out. You will need the events you plan to go to, and any airports you plan to fly to for maintenance or proficiency. Use the sample program letter to help. You will also need to fill out an 8130-6d application for airworthiness Under Section II, check 4 Experimental and then 3 Exhibition.

Next prepare your aircraft and logbooks for the inspector. Make sure you have maintenance records for both engine and airframe. And it would be best if you can find and A&P to sign off a current annual condition inspection. Make sure you have a weight and loading form. The inspector will ask to see it.

Call your nearest Flight Standards District Office and tell them you would like to certify your Brantly in Experimental Exhibition Group IV. That you would like to send them your Form 8130-6 Application for Airworthiness, program letter and registration certificate for their examination and after they look over your package tell them you would like to schedule a time for an inspection. Be nice and don't get frustrated if the first time they laugh. Tell them you are serious and that you have all the required documentation and understand the restrictions involved. Listen there are hundreds of aircraft flying in this category of experimental aircraft. The category was designed for aircraft that couldn't get flown any other way so you may use it too. If they want more information just ask what it is they want and try and supply it.

If they say they don't have time suggest that you can bring the aircraft to them on a trailer. That it isn't a very complex helicopter and the inspection shouldn't take very much time. Again stress you have all the paperwork and logbooks ready for them.

Finally when the inspector looks at your aircraft be ready to answer any questions and/or fix and change anything he might not like. Such as bolts that don't go through the nut at least one thread,etc. Bring or have lots of different size tie wraps. He may want you to secure wires or other things. Have a good set of pictures with front, side and rear view for him. Don't just take digital pictures and print them on typing paper, they should be nice 8x10 glossy prints.

Hopefully at some point the inspector will be satisfied and hand over a pink airworthiness certificate and set of operating limitations. Make sure he goes over them with you so you totally and completly understand them as they are what governs what, where, when and how you can fly your newly certified aircraft. AUTHOR UNKNOWN FROM THE NET
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Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby scrapper » Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:00 pm

Thanks to this Brantly community for brainstorming thus seriosu issue.

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Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby 9121u » Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:16 pm

I would not jump the gun on experimental yet i was just making a option on these birds if nothing can be done to correct the the issues i was talking to Bill mott abought this.. and he said once you go experimental you can not go back... so if your flying now just let it go and wait and see what comes out of this.....thanks tom
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Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby seneca2e » Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:46 am

Bryan,
As one of the foremost authorities on the Brantly on the board your opinion carries a lot of weight with me even though I've been in the aviation business exclusively for 30 years. I am a helicopter cfi and a A&P but am not even close to as knowledgeable about the Brantly as many on here are-especially you. But I stand by what I said.

To offer up the options of going experimental/exhibition or saying to avail yourself of the "owner produced parts" option is just well not logical and certainly the owner produced rotor blade is CERTAINLY not doable(remember even having them reskinned by a expert would not pass muster-"turn in as suspected unapproved parts".

Running as an experimental would ruin the value and utility of the machine and make it nearly uninsurable. The factory, if they ever do produce a single part again-little on blades-will never offer blades to owners for 10 grand. The inspections in place were decades old and worked. You minimize the removing and replacing of the blades every 25 hours(blades get dropped, twisted, and damaged even by the best mechanics). And finally I think you overestimate the number of sericeable blades out there in the ENTIRE fleet that could even pass a VISIBLE crack inspection(which was previously acceptable but now scraps them under this SB if it becomes an AD) little on a "crack" that shows up as a spike on a instrument. It was &*(& to issue the bulletin with no production certificate in hand and to offer no viable options. Believe me if you still had your beautiful Brantly you'd shout BS on this one.

Also, bear in mind that a separate Chinese entity has owned the HILLER type certificate for MANY years now as well. Seen any NEW Hiller's lately or new rotorblades or engine mounts(all parts that are in such short supply that the Hiller is in danger of being grounded as well)?
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Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby bryancobb » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:36 am

Hi Seneca2E,

First off, let me humbly decline the "expert" title you bestow on me. I am merely an ex Brantly OWNER with a pretty good understanding of things mechanical. I got all of what I do know, from those super guys who worked in Vernon, like Doyle, Jason One, Jason Two, Cy, Big John, and from rebuilding my ship from nose to tail.

It honestly had not dawned on me that what I post on here, without very much thought (or checking for accuracy for that matter), may be given too much credence. Thanks for opening my eyes.

I was not the one who mentioned the EXPERIMENTAL route. I just had some information on HOW to do it. That would NOT be my choice, but it could be an option.

My discussion about the FAR 21.303 (b)(2)option, an area that I absolutely KNOW NOTHING ABOUT, was just a suggestion for owners to discuss it with their A.I.'s. Maybe there could be a solution there. This is probably what I would do If I still owned mine.

On the blade removal, I have a LOT of first hand experience here, since I removed my outer yellow blade, EVERY TIME I came home and put my helicopter away. It IS easy. Five minutes per blade. Yes, I risked ruining it every time and I gouged a big chunk of meat out of the bridge of my nose once (BIG ugly scar's still there). I DO NOT think this Service Bulletin is a good reason to remove them though.

I honestly have no idea how many blades are out in the field. I THOUGHT I just said one always seem to mysteriously appear when you need one.

I agree with you that whatever "SYSTEM" Brantly owners have been using for the past 20 years, to keep rotor blades on their ships, has worked. As I said, to my knowledge, no one has been injured because of outer blades.
You are also very right that if I still had mine, I'd call BS on this situation.

I apologize if I said something that rubbed you the wrong way. It was unintentional. I just wouldn't want Mr. Belhemeur or Mr. Hardman to have MY name in their BAD column. I may need one or both someday.
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Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby seneca2e » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:29 am

Bryan,
I ALWAYS look forward to reading your posts on this board. I've learned a lot from you and really appreciate you staying with the board and posting your knowledge even after you sold your ship. You'd be on my short list of people I'd fly down and pick up and pay to work on my Brantly! The board would almost have disappeared at times without your contributions! Keep em coming please!

I guess you could say I'm kinda bummed about this sevice bulletin. I just can't believe it was issued as written in this vacuum. I sure hope things are better than they seem but they had plenty of time (years) to build up a supply of blades. You are right Brantly owners need the company to succeed but we really don't even know for sure if they're commited to it. We can only look at their actions of the past few years on the dwindle down at Vernon-which is not confidence inspiring.
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Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby bryancobb » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:00 pm

KINDA BUMMED... in an understatement!
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Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby jwgood » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:20 am

WOW!!! I knew you guys were enthusiasts, but I believe I'd go as far as saying you fella's are die hards!

I have yet to read the newest SB for the blades but it appears to really have stirred the pot. I would gather that the poor fella in NZ had a novice maintaining his bird. These cracks are well known as are the wallered out holes for the lag fork.

Since becoming a maintenance test pilot and maintenance examiner for the army in the Chinook, I can tell you this... it is all up to interpertation and it comes down to the fella who is going to be releasing the aircraft for flight. If you got a guy who knows what he's doing and cares for the safety of the occupants, keep him!

I have done some research on the chinook blade as it was designed in the late 50's and early 60's and not far from where Mr. Brantly did a lot of his initial design and testing of the B1 and B2. The simple fact is that the blade design and composition are extremely similiar except for the blade skin. Difference being that the ch uses fiberglass crossplied to the nomex honeycomb core and brantly uses aluminium bonded to foam and then riveted to the spar. Only fastner on the boeing blade is the glue.... that allows for repairs of cracks.
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Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby bryancobb » Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:55 am

Jason... CW-4??? I suppose. Where the heck have you been? Go to brantly.com and read the SB and let me know what you think.

I don't think the guy in NZ who had his blades come apart had his ship very long. He bought it here, had it shipped over, and from what I remember, had to jump a few hurdles before NZ authorities would let him fly it there because of outboard blade tracibility issues.

Then, if I remember right, it was only a short time after he started flying it till the blades (2) came apart badly. I doubt he had even done his first 25hr inspection. I don't think HIS maintainer was the problem.
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Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby Randy Strock » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:05 pm

I've read through all of the posts following my note to Mr Hardman and have to say that I'm rather disappointed in their overall content. While one might be very distressed with the situation, it won't get any better with non factual discussions. and it certainly won't get any better without a cohesive group of people working together instead of taking indiscriminate pot shots at "things". There are valid points to be made here and they should be discussed and dissected one at a time in order to get a reasonable conclusion, if indeed there actually is a reasonable result to be had.

Mr. Hardman did not have any responsiblity to even acknowledge my email. He also could have simply provided a short "oh well, you guys are out of luck" response, and none of us would have any ability to provide a different outcome. That could have been "end of story" and we would be left to rail against the Chinese.....to what benefit for us all? What he did do was provide the most information available to date on this situation. We might not like what he had to say but at least we have facts to deal with, not suppositions or innuendo. That, in and of itself, is worth a lot.

There are a couple of ideas that have been touched upon in the forum. One of them was the idea of converting to experimental category. That thought crossed my mind also while thinking about all of previously and the question that comes to mind is.....If once you convert to experimental with the Brantly, and it then becomes impossible to reconvert back to FAA approved, well.....what's wrong that ? and I ask that question in all seriousness becuase i don't know the proper answer. As a community of Brantly Owner's, we all know what we're dealing with in terms of the ship itself, and if we don't know, we have this forum to ask others. Would a problem arise if its registered as experimental and we would want to sell it? That would be my question. What is the long term financial impact on the ship (i.e. - its Owner) if its converted to experimental category?

Another subject is the manufacturing of replacement blades by others than the original factory. I asked Mr Hardman if the factory was discussing with anyone the licensing of a permit for the mfg of blades here in the US and the answer was no and there were no current plans to do so. Well, that doesn't say that its out of the question. It means its not happening right now. Would I want to step up and make the blades in a fab shop? Highly unlikely simply due to the liability costs of doing so. so that brings me to the next subject....

It was suggested that the Owner could make his own parts for orphaned aircraft. Would you really trust your life to a blade that you made unless you had ALL of the engineering drawings, fabrication jigs, the engineering mentality, the metal fabrication shop facilities, the oversight of those who have already done it, etc. You already know how hard it is to simply figure out which blade is climbing, and we're going to make a new blade? Daunting is the word that comes to mind. I'll make a bracket, I'll replace a switch that I'm not supposed to touch, but it'll be a cold day before i fall out of the sky because I didn't use the proper cure time at each of the right step down temperatures with the proper skin stress relief steps and the blade then comes unglued in flight.

Has everyone lost sight of the fact that there is a potential for hidden structural damage, not visible to the uninformed eye, to kill each and every one of us?
Step back, and think about that for a moment. I know this whole thing sucks. I agree that it sucks. However.... if it saves me from leaving my wife alone for the next 20 years, I'll be glad that it happened. I have not yet done the tap test but I will. I don't own a 10x magnifier but I'm going to purchase one. I'll have the blades tested. and if it saves my life, I'll gladly stop flying until I have a better alternative. Some of us will be lucky and won't have any problem at all. Others among us will get devastated by the results of the SB111 test. I don't know which group I fit into yet but I'll deal with a bad result if I must.

While I want to fly as badly as everyone else, perhaps even more so, I want to fly safely and if we have this doubt in the back of our mind that our blades might be compromised, how are we to enjoy our time in the air? So....

Let's talk about solutions to the problem. I'm going to write to the gentleman at the FAA. Who's going to write to AOPA ? Who's going to .....?
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Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby jwgood » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:23 pm

Hey Bryan!

Just a mid grade W3 sitting in Afghanistan waiting for my turn to be over. I just read the SB... give me a while to let this stew a bit. I will say this, my first thought is that it is written.... well... .not in the most intuitive of terms. It doesn't really read that well.
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Re: Brantly Issues New Service Bulletin

Postby bryancobb » Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:51 am

Randy Strock wrote:It was suggested that the Owner could make his own parts for orphaned aircraft... ... but it'll be a cold day before i fall out of the sky because I didn't use the proper cure time at each of the right step down temperatures with the proper skin stress relief steps and the blade then comes unglued in flight.


Randy, I didn't mean to suggest an owner fabbing his own blades. I was thinking in terms of perhaps modifying existing uncracked blades so they won't crack. I saw a set on a British Brantly that had the skin doublers in the root area bonded and stacked a-la-Jet Ranger???? Just thinking out loud.
The other thing I alluded to was a properly engineered/PMA'd set of blades, made by a 3rd party...maybe even carbon fiber if weight and aerodynamics could be identical.

I DID NOT mean to imply that an owner get him three 2x6's and a spoke-shave and commence making a set. LOL
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