The US Federal Aviation Administration has issued an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) requiring inspection of the main rotor hydraulic actuator support on US-operated Bell 222, 230 and 430 helicopters.

The AD follows a Model 222 accident where it was discovered that all retaining studs and shear pins had sheared off or were pulled out of the junction between the support and transmission case. The directive, which affects around 133 machines, requires an inspection of support dowel pins and a torque check of retaining nuts.

Meanwhile, Bell delivered 145 new civil helicopters last year, and sold 28 used ones. The single-engine 407 accounted for 62 of the deliveries, followed by 27 206L4 LongRanger 4s and 26 larger twin-turbine 412EPs. The year's tally included the first five of the new 427 light twin, 11 430s and 14 smaller 206 JetRanger 3 machines. This compares with around 150 civil helicopters produced in 1999.

Source: Flight International