Service Bulletin 109- Mandatory Installation of KI-217-1 Bladder Fuel Tanks for Robinson R22 Helicopters
Today, Robinson Helicopter Company issued Service Bulletin 109 for the R22 Helicopter. This bulletin requires subject aircraft with all-aluminum fuel tanks to be retrofitted with bladder-type fuel tanks to improve resistance of the fuel system to a post-crash fire. Subject aircraft- all R22 helicopters serial number 0002 through 4620 will need to install the bladder tanks as soon as possible, but not later than the next 12 year inspection or 2200 hour overhaul. The price for the KI-217-1 kit is currently priced at $6400 and is available painted either white or primer grey.
Given Robinson’s drive to outfit the much larger fleet of R44 helicopters with bladder fuel tanks since the September 2012 issuance of of SB-78, it has been speculated among Robinson operators that the RHC would eventually follow suit and push this additional safety measure across the R22 fleet. In April 2013, helicopter industry news outlet Helihub reported that Robinson Helicopter Company began installing bladder fuel tanks on all new R22 helicopters leaving the factory- serial number 4622 and above.
As a major seller of 2200 hour overhaul kits for R44 and R22 Helicopters, it has been Rotorcorp’s observation that a vast majority of R44 operators, unless flying under Part 135, elected to perform SB-78 compliance at time of 2200 overhaul. Performing the install at this time when the helicopter is undergoing major disassembly is logical and saves on downtime- estimated 40 hours for installation on SB-109. Unlike SB-78 which was issued with steadfast deadlines for compliance, the R22 SB-109 (for now) leaves compliance relatively open and potentially allows operators to coordinate when the subject aircraft would normally undergo major inspection/overhaul.
Robinson also states plainly in the service bulletin wording that 2200 hour overhaul kits will not be sold without KI-217-1 unless evidence of installation is provided at time of overhaul kit ordering. This means that operators approaching the 2200 mark should plan to add the price of the bladder fuel tanks to their total overhaul cost.
If you are an R22 operator or maintenance provider, Rotorcorp is available to answer questions about coordinating the compliance of this Service Bulletin, or evaluating how compliance may impact your upcoming overhaul or 12 year inspection. Feel free to contact us today at 404-424-9105 or via e-mail at [email protected]