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As350 Problems?


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Not sure if this is the same thing or not…


TC put out an AD back in the summer (I believe) that said you could not turn the hydraulics off in the AStar for training. It stemmed from the OMNR accident last year. My understanding now is that this AD that is already out is going to severely impact operators that fly AStars because they can’t do ALL of the initial or recurrency training on the AStar.


I do know that TC met with Eurocopter in France last week to come up with a solution for this. TC is the only regulatory body to put the AD out! As a result there are several operators that I spoke with over the last little while that are going to Heli-Expo - they said that if there is not an amendment to the current AD to let them train with hydraulics off, they would be brining a few pilots to the show to do their training with a few of the AStar operators in the Las Vegas area.

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Seems stupid to me to not allow you to train for a specific problem that might arise.


Imagine back when the Lycomings were puking day in and day out, if you weren't allowed to practice doing auto's, what then?


I personally think TC is out of answers so they do the next thing they can think of. For years the 350 has been running in extreme cold weather operations, why the sudden change? Could it be from a particular operators pressure? What better way to get budgeted for a new helicopter than to make sure the current fleet is grounded.

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I have recieved a copy of the incident report on latest problem with the Astar.


The pilot, while doing water sampling in northern ontario had a problem with rate limiting on the servos(cyclic has some resistance when trying to move fast). Temperature had warmed to -36 'C, had been running on ground at full throttle while waiting for customers when occured(had already been flying for about one hour). He "stirred the soup" and the problem went away. The rate limiting was somewhat more fore and aft(makes sense as only one servo for fore and aft movements is actuated). After he took off his cyclic seemed to go stiffer and he turned off the hydraulics and attempted a hyd off landing, when 30'agl the cylic forces to the left made it impossible for him to keep a/c level and he then turned on the hydraulics and made a run on landing.


There was no mention as to the length of time the pilot flew without hydraulics or why he not able to hold cylic level, maybe he was of slight build or flew too long without hyd and was tired, my experience is the a/c wants to go right until aispeed is bled off and t/r thrust pushes the a/c left which has to be compensated for with right cyclic(maybe he was severe crosswind,,,wtfk). But my first reaction to this is that there was a slight loss of hydraulic pressure, slight as the light and horn weren't on, they come on at ~32 bars. If there was a problem with a servo the rate limiting would have been much more noticable on one servo not all three as was reported by pilot. Normal operating pressure of system is ~43 bars which allows for a good deal of pressure loss before warning system is activated(maybe this should be looked at). Loss of pressure could be various things such as the belt slippping, ice in filter, 'o' ring in relief valve torn..... why not look at that. Was there an improvement to performance when a/c was warmed. what about the swashplate? Was it shimmed too tight, or excess ice or snow somewhere there shouldn't be? When the a/c first came out they had to put snow/ice shields over the pilot valves on servos, the pilot was running on ground fair bit and maybe too much ice formed somewhere it shouldn't have. He was worried about cycle counting on engine thus left a full rpm, this should not be done as it just circulates snow which does no good on any type.

It is my assumtion(bad I know) that this incident will cause as sorts of feedback from TC. TC faxed the incident to a bunch of operators but with no follow up, talk about scare tactics, I tried to get more info but had no luck.


My experience with this type has ranged from the Yukon at -40'C to south america. There have been occurances with the type but let's not go off half cocked, it seems as though there is a great lack of knowledge on this type's hydraulic system, which makes the drivers out there nervous as ****. I could go one and one about 206 contamination problems let alone the switch location issues they had, finger pointing is immature and unprofession. Get into the books(maintenance and flight manuals) read all you can, ask questions of your boss, get him or her to ask people that know the answers. Get HAC involved more. Penticton has been doing hydraulics off training since the a/c was introduced into their fleet, to my knowledge there has not been any incident doing hydraulics off landings ever. My opinion is that by limiting hydraulics off training is wrong and has done nothing to increase the safety level in the type, infact the opposite has happened, pilots are nervous and NEED more training NOW. Maybe tc should involve the industry more or get a professional outside organisation such as the royal test pilot school or AETE to work on this, so we can get on with providing the public with safe pilots, and safe a/c. Not the extreme head in the sand attitude prevailing now of parking pilots and a/c. Spend some money get a qualified test pilot and go to different aircraft around Canada and try flying them without hydraulics, maybe there is a problem with non-training a/c, doubt it but hey do something.

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It's great to see some new voices here, your opinions (however varied) are always welcome.


Maggie, we all would like to know more facts, and as you say, "what the pilot was thinking".

But let's not second guess a pilot's decisions !!

He was PIC, so we can assume he considered the problem, his location, and the temperature, then decided to fly. Then, (according to the above info.), attempted to correct the situation by several means, and then tried a run-on to save lives and the ship. Well done, Captain.


P.S What does "Hopefully better heads will prevail in this in the end" mean ???

I hope you are not saying all these incidents are pilot error. These pilots seem to be doing the best they can while fighting a problematic hydraulic design to some very tragic endings.

Not all of them had a warning on the ground.

Please tell us what this pilot was told to do 'officially' by Eurocopter in this situation.


Hopefully some 'better heads' will design a better system soon. They've known about this for too long.


This post is not an attack on you or the Astar, as I have great respect for both, but if we're going to point fingers, let's do it in the right direction.

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What the pilot was thinking is hard to say, maybe -36'C and not at camp, hard to say, and what is done is done. It would seem that in his opinion that the problem went away(ice or snow ????) but has probably learned as most do, that helicopters generally don't fix themselves and has joined the ranks of the extreme pessimistic now.


I did infact join to voice my opinion on the subject. Usually I enjoy the bantering that goes on in this site, and since many people read the forum who may not be as experienced as others thought I'd throw my two cents in. As the old jolk goes: why did the Canadian cross the road? To get to the middle" I usually am there but something has to be done about this soon, and it should be something that works, not the old " I guess its ok if you do this....." It is my belief that if pilots and tc officials were better trained to each type of Astar then we wouldn't have gone this far along without a solid answer by now. I have heard rumors of extremely heated arguments between officials and ec to no avail. We should be actively flight training and reporting any maintenance anomolies NOW. How long will it take to convert all the Astars to different hyd drives, months? After that, will our pilots be better equipped to handle a hyd off landing, NO WAY.


If you are in the know, then get as much info out to us all, this is not the time that we like to be mushrooms. Training season for most is coming up fast, we need to be able to accomplish it in the way that makes sense. Alot of crews have their butt up and head down now working and we all need to support them. Without those crews in the field it will be pretty competative over the cleaning jobs around the bases.

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Every Canadian Astar pilot going to the States to train hydraulics off?? Well it just ain't going to happen. I know pilots that are looking for endorsements are going there. We will have to sit back until Tuesday to read what the AD states. Maybe for some unrealistic reason we'll have to bring an "N" registered machine here to Canada if thats what it takes. Funny the FAA hasn't followed suit..... As for flying as Astar with any resonable doubts in the hydraulic system...wake up there PIC !!! Not the smartest thing to do...Ground IT!

Most Operators have been training hydraulic off flight for years now, what is all the fuss about now? We should be doing MORE training as mentioned before, the Astar is flyable without hydrualics, not the easiest A/C to fly but never the less it fly's.

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It should be grounded. From what I hear, we have an accident a year ago that killed four or five people, and they went in in a severe left bank with hydraulics off. Now I haven't flown an Astar for a long time, but I know that they go right. That's strange. Then we had some ground incidents of the same thing, anf now a flight incident where the pilot says it goes hard left.


Who cares if it hasn't happened in the states? What more do you want? Something is wrong and nobody knows what it is. The CHC pilot said he couldn't control the left forces, so obviously there is a problem that cannot be controlled by the pilot. Enough said. It doesn't matter what it is, it needs to be fixed. From what my buddies in high places tell me, Aerospat hasn't done crap about it since the MNR accident, and has been useless. The Canadian branch has tried to help but they don't have any of the engineering capability of France, and don't know the whole story. Typical response to problems from Aerospat.

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