With an effective Date of 9 January 2015, the FAA issued Airworthiness Directive 2014-23-16 covering Robinson Model R22, R22 Alpha, R22 Beta, and R22 Mariner helicopters with blade part number (P/N) A016-4; and Model R44 and R44 II helicopters with blade P/N C016-2 or C016-5, installed. AD 2014-23-16 was issued to both “address unsafe conditions which exist and are likely to exist or develop on other products of these same type designs” and to introduce terminating actions for the previous directives. AD 2014-23-16 stipulates a replacement deadline of 5 years from the effective date of this AD- or 8 January 2020 which is fast approaching.
Franke Nieto, Lead Customer Service Representative at Robinson Helicopter Company stated that the company has made best efforts to ensure reasonable lead times on replacment main rotor blades. According to Frank, current lead time for R22 and R44 blades is approximately 1-2 weeks, though he cautions that those lead times could grow through the end of the year and ahead of Robinsons annual price change which also occures in January. He recommends placing replacement blade orders as early as possible to avoid unexpected delays at a later date.
If you are currently operating a Robinson R22 helicopter with main rotor blades with part numbers A016-4 or an Robinson R44 with part number C016-2 or C016-5 main rotor blades, your aircraft may become non-airworthy on January 8th, 2020. At this point, the only terminating action remaining is to replace the affected blades with specified current revision blades ahead of the deadline.
Half Price Blade Replacement
If your effected A016-4, C016-2 or C016-5 main rotor blades have a date of manufacturer of less than 8 years and have accumulated less than 1800 hours TT since installation, you may qualify for discounted replacement C016-7 blades per Robinson R44 Service Letter 49 or Robinson R22 Service Letter 63 respectively. It is anticipated that Robinson will continue to honor this discount offer for qualifying blades through the compliance deadline.
Blade Compatibility Considerations: R44 Models
Please note that before C016-7 blades can be installed on R44 models, all conditions on Robinson Service Letter 37A must be met. Primarily, these conditions include the installation of hydraulic flight controls (for R44 Astro Helicopters) and installation of current revision C006-5,-6,-8 Main Rotor Gear Box for all R44 models. If you require assistance determining compatibility of C016-7 blades with current equipment, please feel free to contact Rotorcorp for assistance.
Blade Compatibility Considerations: R22 Models
Please note that A016-6 main rotor blades can be installed on all R22 models. Per Robinson R22 Service Letter 68, all A016-6 main rotor blades are now outfitted with A158-3 spindles. If your ship was previously equipped with MR Blades featuring the old-style A158-1 spindle, then an R9111 Supplemental Upgrade Kit will be required for installation of the new blades and spindles. The R9111 kit contains a new MR Hub and assorted attachment hardware.