Robinson Helicopters has been installing bladder-style fuel tanks in its R44 helicopters since 2009. But much of the fleet manufactured before then is still flying with the old-style aluminum tanks that tend to rupture in otherwise minor accidents.
The Robinson R66’s safety record to date is troubling. The aircraft did not go into production until 2010 and the fleet is very small. Yet a total of five R66 helicopters have already crashed, killing 11:
- July 12, 2011, Flandes, Colombia, pilot and passenger killed;
- October 1, 2011, near Philip, South Dakota, pilot killed;
This Robinson R44 crash was in Australia.
Witnesses said that nearby restaurant staff “grabbed every fire extinguisher in the building, but there were too many flames . . . There was nothing anyone could do.”
No occupant of a properly-designed helicopter should be burned in an otherwise survivable impact. Unfortunately, the fuel tanks installed in…
Another Robinson R44 Helicopter rolled over and almost immediately caught fire. This time it was at Slaton Municipal Airport in Slaton, Texas. According to the Avalanche-Journal, the helicopter was engulfed in flames within 10 seconds of the helicopter rolling onto its side.
Fortunately, the pilot got out. But the R44 is racking up quite…
Stephen Stock, an investigative reporter for NBC, talks about the hazards posed by night vision goggles improperly installed in much of the nation’s EMS helicopter fleet. I was happy to offer Stock my thoughts. The FAA refused to comment on camera.
Imagine how difficult it must be for Rand Foster to go to work
The NTSB blamed the helicopter crash that killed 9 firefighters on the the helicopter’s operator. Basically, the NTSB concluded that the helicopter crashed because it was overloaded. But today a jury disagreed, deciding that the Sikorsky helicopter crashed because one of its two engines failed. The jury handed down a $70 million verdict against…
And everyone walked away.
The video is proof that if it has a properly designed fuel system, a helicopter need not catch fire after an otherwise survivable accident.
Hope the folks at the Robinson Helicopter factory take note.
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
Robinson Helicopter Company likes to say that its helicopters are safe in crashes. According to an excerpt from Robinson Safety Notice SN-10:
The R22 and R44 have demonstrated excellent crashworthiness as long as the pilot flies the aircraft all the way to the ground . . .The ship may roll over and be
Eurocopter’s AStar is the most popular tour helicopter in the United States. But according to some tour operators, the helicopter is dangerous and defective. They use it anyway because it is the most profitable.
No, I’m not making this up.
Problems with the AStar 350?
One of Las Vegas’ largest tour operators, Heli-USA, is…