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Question:why Is The As350 Not Certified For Class C External Loads

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Our regional TC authorities raised concerns that a letter published in June 2015 by Airbus and provided to operators could not “override the AS350 B2 Manual (which had not been amended). They were also not aware that several operators had resumed Class C(In several regions including their own).  Airbus advised the letter was meant to “clarify” statements in the FM.,not override.

The B2 Manual was officially approved Nov 29/17 and is currently being distributed.

Even with the amendment, our inspectors advised that the wording was vague and raised concerns that the AS350 not certified for class C.They sought clarification from standards and certification branches of TC

The following e-mail was sent to our inspectors Dec 18/17; it wa forwarded to us the same day

I was in Illinois all last week and out of the loop (no laptop carriage to the States due to new TC policy).  I am sorry I didn’t know about the Class C issue.  As mentioned below, we had an accident with an AS 350B2 with a Class C load in 2015 and TSB subsequently raised an issue with TC concerning the AS 350 RFM external load  supplement wording in their Recommendations and Safety Action. 

I just spoke to Andy Stirzaker who will be in a telecon this morning with Airbus Helicopters.  The letter from Airbus dated 18 June 2015 (attached) makes it clear that Class C loads can be carried legally on the AS350.  Airbus was supposed to make changes to the text in the RFM and the cockpit stickers.  It doesn’t appear that has been accomplished.  Andy’s call will be to see the status of the paperwork and to light a fire under AB if necessary.

 In the meantime, based on the previously issued AB letter, you can tell “the company” that Class C loads are approved for the AS350. If there is any progress on the RFM wording, we will pass that along to you as well.

Best regards:

Rob

  

Rob Freeman 
Program Manager, Aerial Work, Air Taxi and Commuter Operations

Commercial Flight Standards

Transport Canada / Transports Canada

330 Sparks Street,Tower C

Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N5

Tel: 1-613-990 1017  Fax: 1-613-990 -6215

[email protected]

 

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FYI:

Earlier this month, 4 TC inspectors and the Associate Reginal Director advised us (verbally) that TC standards have changed  their position with regards to AS350 Helicopters and their certification for Class C external,loads. We asked to receive their position in writing and we’re told that TC is preparing a Civil Aviation Safety Alert (CASA).

A follow up email to the standards department garnered this April 19 reply:

With respect to operations with Class “C” loads by the AS 350 series helicopters, TCCA will be advising operators through their regional POI’s and through the issuance of a CASA of the implications of the position of Airbus Helicopters on these operations with this series of helicopter, as stated in the Limitations Section of the AS 350 Rotary-wing Flight Manual. Transport Canada is not planning any separate regulatory action on these operations at this time.

Best Regards,

Pierre Ruel

Pierre Ruel
Chief | Chef
Flight Standards| Normes des Opérations Aériennes
Standards Branch| Direction des Normes
Transport Canada | Transports Canada
330 Sparks St, 4th floor | 330 rue Sparks, 4e étage (AARTA)
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0N5
[email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>
613-998-9855
 

Has anyone received further clarity through their POI? We were advised the CASA was to be released in the very near future, but have yet to see it...

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1 hour ago, Freewheel said:

CASA of the implications of the position of Airbus Helicopters on these operations with this series of helicopter, as stated in the Limitations Section of the AS 350 Rotary-wing Flight Manual. Transport Canada is not planning any separate regulatory action on these operations at this time.

This says that they are reinforcing that the limitations in the flight manual are to be followed and aren't going to change it anytime soon.

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1 hour ago, Heliian said:

This says that they are reinforcing that the limitations in the flight manual are to be followed and aren't going to change it anytime soon.

That it does.

So let's look at the Operating Limitations section in the latest amendment (06-17) to the supplement for the Cargo Swing on the AS350 B2, approved by Transport Canada themselves in November 2017.

"The cargo hook system is approved for lifting external load which is jettisonable and lifted free from land or water during rotorcraft operation.

Operation with an external load which remains in contact with land, water or any fixed structure is not demonstrated by the manufacturer. These operations shall not be conducted without approval from the responsible authority in accordance with the applicable operational regulations."

Now, what are your thoughts if an operator has an approval e-mail (like the one in my  December 21, 2017 above) from Transport Canada Standards (and have Class C loads approved in their COM)? We also received an e-mail from our Primary Ops Inspector stating approval of Class C loads in the AS350 is granted. Our COM also contains approval for Class C loads, but does not specify in which aircraft.

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Additionally, Airbus has been circulating the attached letter (to Transport Canada and many operators) since June 2015. Also attached is the November 2017 letter from TC certification (to Airbus). In this letter TC Certification states that they have completed their review, validate the "major change affecting Airbus Helicopters AS350B2" and find the changes acceptable.

13530660.pdf

AS 350 and EC 130 series helicopter - External load certification.pdf

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Are there any hooks that are rated for class C?  

It would seem to me that the manufacturer would allow it if the equipment was up to standard and you had it in an approved manual. 

You're going to have to put in the work on this one and deal with all parties, as fun as that sounds.

 

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13 hours ago, Heliian said:

Are there any hooks that are rated for class C?  

It would seem to me that the manufacturer would allow it if the equipment was up to standard and you had it in an approved manual. 

You're going to have to put in the work on this one and deal with all parties, as fun as that sounds.

 

We’ve already involved all parties and done the work...now it’s up to them.

This circus has been going on since 2015.

According to Airbus I’m good to go with Class C loads. That’s what their letter says. They have also been advising several operators of this since 2015.

According to anything  I have in writing from TC, I’m also currently good to go. That includes correspondence from TC Standards, Certification and Regional Operations and my COM approval. I’m confident that  constitutes “approval from the responsible authority in accordance with the applicable operational regulations” as indicated n the operating limitations of the Flight Manual.

With that being said, standards and my region have advised they will be releasing a CASA to advise of the implications of Airbus’ position. The point of my post was simply to ask if anyone else had received any news on this front (and also pass on what I know to others who may be conducting Class C in AS350s).

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3 minutes ago, Heliian said:

It's easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.

No need to beg. I already have permsision in writing lol

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And n the form of a stamp of approval on behalf of the minister (in my COM]. Like I said  “Good to go” ...for the time being at least. At the rate TC moves, that could be quite awhile.

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