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Removing Structural Menbers In Flight (almost)

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I'm with you Mike. I think it should be avoided whenever possible but the 206 is built well enough to withstand the post being removed while running. It's nice to see that we have people on here that are smarter and more familiar with Bell products than their own structural engineers. :down: :down: :down:

I hope the sarcasm in this note is not missed by the more obtuse members. It never ceases to amaze me the arrogance and ignorance of some pilots who think they know more than the aeronautical engineers who designed these machines. I'm thinking of this doorpost situation, of collective friction set up well outside the proper range, of intentional, regular use of the transient limits, deliberate, regular overloading because 'she can do it'. Unfortunately it's not always the perpetrator who pays for these transgressions, although I have known some who paid the ultimate price!

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I was working on a logging site with a heli-logging crew. There were no roads as the job was a water drop and the distance between the water and the hillside was close to a mile and about 2000 feet in elevation to the top of the block. In between was forested with many bluffs. Before we even started working a briefing was carried out about the job as well as a safety briefing from the 206 support pilot. Part of his briefing was instruction on how to take off the door in order to load a patient on a spineboard. When finished instructing and displaying the correct procedure, he had everyone on the crew take off the door and put it back on by themselves till they were confident in doing it. A week later, a 15000 lb log rolled over one of the loggers. The injuries were severe. The logging helicopter longlined the patient over to the nearest pad. The 206 then came to the pad, stayed at 100% while the door post was removed, the patient was loaded and then put back on. Everything went smoothly without a hitch. The initial safety meeting was probably the biggest reason for this.


Does a good safety briefing make it right? NO, not at all. It was a plan that worked that time. Was there another way of doing it more safely? H.E.T.S. doesn't appear to be an option in the forest industry or at least the forest companies haven't been sold on it yet!


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Guest who's yer daddy

I find it interesting that the Bell mediums cannot even have the pylon inspection panels removed during a run up.


If the majority of 206 crews are going to remove the litter door post during dynamic conditions then let me know as I am going to start investing in Eagle, Alpine Aerotech and Acro Heli Pro stocks.


But what do I know! Only removed the post once with the blades turning and could not get it back in! I guess there is no such thing as a new mistake, only the same one's over and over again.


I'll bet a 15 foot endless strap is a good way to short line under a 500 too!

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i know this subject has been beaten to death,


but consider the 206 airframe design is much like a table....it has a top (upper roof) two support bulkheads, that act like table legs, and a floor that acts as...well...the floor.


Anchor your kitchen table legs to the floor and you have a fairly sturdy structure. I doubt anyone will argue that....now take a chainsaw and cut one leg off.....do you really think you can now use that table to it's full structeral capacity anymore? would you feel safe throwing it to the old lady for a round while the kids played outside overtop that sawed off leg?

I think not....the integrity has been compromised.

to what extent is the key, and we all know there are many variables that change. How much of a risk are you willing to take?


Personally, I think the structure is sound as designed.

Door post removed, you've lost alot of that integrity and other components, floor, vertical tunnel, boxbeam, roof, all have to take on added stressed to compensate.

You may not see it today, but you will see loose rivets and softened/delaminated honeycomb floors in the future. Is the extra maintence and cost an acceptable compromise just to get a logger with a hang nail off the hill?

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I don't see a constructive solution AH1, a lot of your points are valid about insurance liability etc.. Welcome to logging. Your points about stupidity though is playing the arm chair quarterback.


If your supporting fallers AH1 and you refuse to help them rescue their friends when they are dying on the mountainside, don't be hanging around staging when they get back. You will be their only hope of getting him off the hill, and they will be counting on you.


Nowhere in my post says that any of the stated solutions were good ones, so come up with constructive solution. Can you refuse to go up and help them when they are calling you on the radio????



I find it of a huge concern that we allow the ideals of our customers to influence how we do our job. I'm not as concerned with the fallers friends as i am with my own friends.. My point here is...I was always taught to fly the A/C (regardless of the job or testoterone level) In a way that, when My friends and buddies who are pilots, go working for the day can return home safe as well... WE tend to find more and more ways to abuse a/c for our customers and their friends....forgettin about our own... As earlier stated..."do you know when it will fail...???" Over temps included...

my 2 cents...DC

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But what do I know! Only removed the post once with the blades turning and could not get it back in! I guess there is no such thing as a new mistake, only the same one's over and over again.


Hate to say it but if you couldn't get the post back in, your aircraft already had bigger issues than just removing the post with it running. Again, I'm not condoning the action but I've seen it done literally dozens of times and never had any trouble getting the post back in. Usually if the post won't go in, the issue is with ones technique. I've seen this with both the aircraft running or not.

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TS: You are right, I went back and checked the first page and Bell were flabbergasted???


Ask the Bell tech rep when they are going to amend the Flight Manual and then have HAC send out a memo to all Bell 206 A/B operators advising them of the proper procedures.


Safety items should come from the Manufacturer, not the industry when it pertains to critical, manufacturer imposed requirements.


Should an accident occur and that post was not in place, even though it was not the cause of the accident, the helicopter was not in fact airworthy and the insurance is invalid for the aircraft and everybody on board.




PS: I phoned Vicki at Bell and she will get back to me with an answer.


Today at around 1800 a Bell Tech Rep called me and we had a discussion on the matter of removing the structual post when loading a person in a helicopter(206) with the litter kit.


Bell will be issuing a clarification, which I will repeat as follows;


Post may be removed when the a/c is on flat ground at idle or 100%.


Post must be installed for all flights.


Any other configuration is at the operators discretion.


Hope this helps.


Cheers, Don


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Any other configuration is at the operators discretion.


Huh ! :huh:


So if I'm reading this right, Bell tells us what must be done, but then they add this little gem at the end, which basically authorises operators to do whatever they want ? Am I reading this right ? Please tell me I'm just tired and reading it all wrong... :wacko:

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