Can any question remain about the R44’s tendency to roll over and catch fire? It happened again yesterday, in Glendale Arizona. This time, the helicopter had barely gotten off the ground.
Fortunately, no one was hurt. But the story is becoming all too familiar. According to the Arizona Republic:
A mechanic was testing the engine of the Robinson R-44 helicopter when he lost control and it came down on its side and caught fire.
Helicopters aren’t supposed to catch fire in survivable accidents. But Robinsons do just that because their fuel tanks are defectively designed. This latest fire happened little more than a few weeks after an R44 accident killed filmmakers Mike deGruy and Andrew Wight. That crash led well-known aviation attorney Ladd Sanger to call the Robinson R44 the "Ford Pinto" of helicopters.
Seems as though there may be something to that.