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R44 12 Year Inspection

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R44 12 Year Inspection

Old 5th Nov 2019, 19:47
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R44 12 Year Inspection

Hi, was wondering if anyone can list what officially needs to be done for a 12 year inspection as opposed to a rebuild. I know it needs new mrb's and trb's but not sure what else requires to be done. If anyone had a rough costing that might be helpful also. Not wanting the Robbie bashing comments. Would be grateful for any help. Thanks
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Old 6th Nov 2019, 14:39
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I can only answer from a US perspective, i.e. not sure how things are mandated in other countries.

The answer is contained within the publicly accessible Robinson maintenance information, which also references the relevant Lycoming maintenance information.

https://robinsonheli.com/r44-maint-manual/

Above 2200 hours:

The answer is simple--throw away the life limited components and do the airframe overhaul. Same for the engine.

Hit the 12 year mark with less than 2200 hours and the answer becomes more complex because there are options:

If you look at Chapter 3, per the FAA type certificate you will see that the only parts that are CALENDAR limited are the main and tail rotor blades. Thus, if you have reached a 12 year calendar anniversary on an R44 but have not gone 2200 hours operating the remaining life limited components on the list, per the FAA the remaining components may remain in service if found in airworthy condition.

Where it gets a little subtle is that while Robinson recommends a 12 year inspection on those remaining components the FAA does not mandate it. So you can legally continue to run the helicopter in the US past the 12 year mark without doing a Robinson recommended and described (Chapter 2, Section 2.600) 12 year inspection. If you do decide to do a 12 year inspection (not overhaul, i.e. you are not throwing away the life limited components listed on the type certificate early) it should cost you around $40K USD. People do it both ways all the time.

Where the engine is concerned you have to follow Lycoming's instructions, which, as called out in the Robinson service manual, is Service Instruction (SI) 1009. That SI says that at 12 years the engine must be overhauled unless:

"For FAA Part 91 or EASA Part NCO (non-commercial) operations, only an appropriated rated and qualified maintenance person (or international equivalent) can allow the twelve (12) calendar year TBO to be exceeded after thoroughly examining the engine for corrosion and degradation in accordance with 14 CFR 43 Appendix D (or international equivalent) and determining that the engine remains in an airworthy condition. This inspection is to be repeated annually or as necessary to ensure continued airworthiness."

So under the right conditions you can allow the engine to go on-condition until 2200, although it may be that you start replacing seals and whatnot, and if the compression is starting to drop any A&P is going to tell you to throw in the towel and overhaul it.
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Old 6th Nov 2019, 16:21
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Originally Posted by aa777888 View Post
I can only answer from a US perspective, i.e. not sure how things are mandated in other countries.

The answer is contained within the publicly accessible Robinson maintenance information, which also references the relevant Lycoming maintenance information.

https://robinsonheli.com/r44-maint-manual/

Above 2200 hours:

The answer is simple--throw away the life limited components and do the airframe overhaul. Same for the engine.

Hit the 12 year mark with less than 2200 hours and the answer becomes more complex because there are options:

If you look at Chapter 3, per the FAA type certificate you will see that the only parts that are CALENDAR limited are the main and tail rotor blades. Thus, if you have reached a 12 year calendar anniversary on an R44 but have not gone 2200 hours operating the remaining life limited components on the list, per the FAA the remaining components may remain in service if found in airworthy condition.

Where it gets a little subtle is that while Robinson recommends a 12 year inspection on those remaining components the FAA does not mandate it. So you can legally continue to run the helicopter in the US past the 12 year mark without doing a Robinson recommended and described (Chapter 2, Section 2.600) 12 year inspection. If you do decide to do a 12 year inspection (not overhaul, i.e. you are not throwing away the life limited components listed on the type certificate early) it should cost you around $40K USD. People do it both ways all the time.

Where the engine is concerned you have to follow Lycoming's instructions, which, as called out in the Robinson service manual, is Service Instruction (SI) 1009. That SI says that at 12 years the engine must be overhauled unless:

"For FAA Part 91 or EASA Part NCO (non-commercial) operations, only an appropriated rated and qualified maintenance person (or international equivalent) can allow the twelve (12) calendar year TBO to be exceeded after thoroughly examining the engine for corrosion and degradation in accordance with 14 CFR 43 Appendix D (or international equivalent) and determining that the engine remains in an airworthy condition. This inspection is to be repeated annually or as necessary to ensure continued airworthiness."

So under the right conditions you can allow the engine to go on-condition until 2200, although it may be that you start replacing seals and whatnot, and if the compression is starting to drop any A&P is going to tell you to throw in the towel and overhaul it.

Thanks for the reply and very helpful. When they say inspect, exactly what does that involve? I remember for an AD on my Enstrom I had to get the blade grips removed and an x-ray type inspection done. Do you have any idea what is required under the "inspect" heading? Thanks again

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Old 6th Nov 2019, 18:26
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Originally Posted by valve guide View Post
Thanks for the reply and very helpful. When they say inspect, exactly what does that involve? I remember for an AD on my Enstrom I had to get the blade grips removed and an x-ray type inspection done. Do you have any idea what is required under the "inspect" heading? Thanks again
Please re-read my post where you will find the exact Robinson manual chapter and section called out. You can then go and read that.
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Old 6th Nov 2019, 21:54
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Originally Posted by aa777888 View Post
Please re-read my post where you will find the exact Robinson manual chapter and section called out. You can then go and read that.
That's the most polite version of RTFM I've ever read.
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Old 6th Nov 2019, 23:48
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In the US, if operating part 91, the engine can be run on condition for as long as you are able to pass an annual inspection. Unless there is an FAA approved airworthinesss limitation on a part or assembly or an airworthiness directive that imposes a life limit on something, nothing is mandatory beyond an annual inspection. Service bulletins, instructions or other manufacturers information can only be recommended unless associated with an AD that makes them mandatory. Your insurance carrier may not allow you to avoid compliance with a so called " mandatory "service bulletin" but it's not a violation of the CFRs. Outside the annual or other inspection program you may use as an annual inspection substitute no other inspection or overhaul is required under part 91. Life limits in chapter 4 of most maintenance manuals is the only section that is actually FAA approved ( and signed by a Fed. on the document) in the maintenance manual.

As for me, I wouldn't fly in a ship that had not undergone all of the manufacturers recommended inspections and overhauls and part 135 normally makes them all mandatory but I also wouldn't bother arguing with an owner who doesn't do them if they understand the regulations. The engine manufacturers time in service and calendar time overhauls are recommendations only, not mandatory unless parts or assemblies are listed as airworthiness limitations.
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Old 6th Nov 2019, 23:54
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aa777888 Thanks I was traveling and its a bit difficult to read on the phone. I am now home and have uploaded the manual which gives the specific instructions. So thanks again for your help, I wasn't being lazy just wanted quick conformation of what I was told which I see is correct.
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Old 6th Nov 2019, 23:58
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Willy Pete, maybe you just need another slap on the forehead
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Old 6th Nov 2019, 23:59
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Roscoe1 thanks, I take all that on board.
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Old 7th Nov 2019, 00:47
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Originally Posted by valve guide View Post
Willy Pete, maybe you just need another slap on the forehead
Valve guide, in your thread starter, you requested no Robbie bashing, yet you now appear to post a derogatory/ insulting post..... on a phone or a computer you can always click the link coloured blue.....
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Old 7th Nov 2019, 09:19
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Originally Posted by nomorehelosforme View Post


Valve guide, in your thread starter, you requested no Robbie bashing, yet you now appear to post a derogatory/ insulting post..... on a phone or a computer you can always click the link coloured blue.....
Nomoreheloforme,I was actually quoting something that WillyPete had said himself in another post and the smiley face after it isn't generally associated with something derogatory or insulting. Regarding "you can always click on the link coloured blue" didn't it occur to you that to make the comment "its a bit difficult to read on the phone" meant that a) I had already done that and b) due to the size of the screen on the phone and continually zooming in and scrolling across it was "difficult" hmmm perhaps not but I hope that now clarifies it for you> No insulting ever intended to WillyPete or indeed your goodself ;-)
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Old 10th Nov 2019, 02:39
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Not 100% up to speed, but how many Robinsons actually make it to the 12 year mark?
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Old 10th Nov 2019, 08:05
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Most of them. Almost all. Minus a tiny number destroyed by pilot error/handling/training accidents.
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Old 10th Nov 2019, 15:53
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helicopter-redeye's snarky response is incorrect, at least from a US perspective.

In the US, Robinson helicopters tend to divide into two maintenance groups, and the answer is pretty obvious. The first group are the machines owned by schools and other organizations that literally fly them every day, weather permitting. These machines will typically see between 200 and 500 hours a year and will time out before calendaring out. The other group consists of machines owned by private owners who only use them for personal business or pleasure. Those machines will, of course, generally calendar out first. I'm pretty sure, but have no proof, that there are a lot more in the first group than the second. It can be deceiving. I suspect that controller.com is full of the second group helicopters. The first group just gets overhauled and keeps on flying, because those people are running businesses.

I bought mine out of the second group, as most do who are not buying new machines. I'm kind of between groups in that I do have a leasing agreement with the local school but between personal and school flying it's not quite hitting 200 hours a year.
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 01:51
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Originally Posted by aa777888 View Post
I can only answer from a US perspective, i.e. not sure how things are mandated in other countries.

Where it gets a little subtle is that while Robinson recommends a 12 year inspection on those remaining components the FAA does not mandate it. So you can legally continue to run the helicopter in the US past the 12 year mark without doing a Robinson recommended and described (Chapter 2, Section 2.600) 12 year inspection. If you do decide to do a 12 year inspection (not overhaul, i.e. you are not throwing away the life limited components listed on the type certificate early) it should cost you around $40K USD. People do it both ways all the time.So under the right conditions you can allow the engine to go on-condition until 2200, although it may be that you start replacing seals and whatnot, and if the compression is starting to drop any A&P is going to tell you to throw in the towel and overhaul it.
I won't argue with this interpretation, but another one I have been told by a couple different maintenance organizations is that the 12 year inspection is mandatory because of the wording in the maintenance manual. Again, I won't argue with what you said it sounds pretty authoritative... There are some components called out on the list like the MR transmission which is probably a good idea to inspect after 12 years ( especially in the coastal areas like greater Boston ). Problem being that I believe that can only be done at the factory,. And you might not like their answer, but once you send it to them I doubt you can ignore their decision.

I know there is a guy down south that does the full inspection, but I think he gets closer to $70K for the job. Every private owner I fly with that has hit this ( 4 I think ) have just decided to do the overhaul. If you know about this when you buy the aircraft, you can buy a used machine with hours on it so you aren't hitting 12 years with lots of component time left. But of course a large segment of private owners like to buy new machines...

As for the engine, a school I taught at ran their R22 engines past TBO, but did oil analysis... And they would all start making metal about 200 hours past TBO... It really didn't make sense to me. I don't know anyone who runs the R44 engine past TBO so I have no idea how that engine behaves. However, given that we are talking about private owners here, I don't think the additional risk of an in flight engine failure is worth the slight decrease in operating expenses... Private owners are seldom as experienced and current on autorotations, so you end up risking the entire hull, not to mention lives...

To some degree I see a difference between R22 and R44 owners... Seems like more R22 owners are struggling with operating costs... The R44 owners seen to be more composed of wealthier individuals that can afford the additional cost of the overhaul. Which, let's face it, is still pretty darn cheap compared to what it costs if you upgrade to a turbine machine...
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 08:50
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Originally Posted by Paul Cantrell View Post
Every private owner I fly with that has hit this [the 12-yr calendar life] ( 4 I think ) have just decided to do the overhaul.
We have one private owner here who will send their machine for a 12-yr inspection in January 2020. By then the machine will have 1,440 HRS TTSN. At an estimated 60 HRS per year, this will last them full 12 years before hitting the 2,200 HRS overhaul.

Last edited by Hot and Hi; 24th Nov 2019 at 15:51. Reason: Correction of calculation error
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 13:43
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Originally Posted by Paul Cantrell View Post
I have been told by a couple different maintenance organizations is that the 12 year inspection is mandatory because of the wording in the maintenance manual.
FYI: Just to add to the above. It actually depends on how the aircraft is operated, Part 91 or Part 135, whether the 12 year becomes "mandatory." Part 91 ops only requires the owner/operator to select an inspection program which at a minimum would consist of an Annual and replacement of any items listed in the approved Airworthiness Limitations section of the MM (i.e., Ch 3, 3.300). This would also include any engine related Airworthiness Limitation items, if applicable.

On the other hand, Part 135 ops are required to follow a manufacturer's recommended maintenance program, or FAA approved alternate, which at a minimum adds the R44 Chapter 2 requirements (i.e., O/Hs, etc.) to the "mandatory" list along with the Ch 3 requirements.
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 14:32
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Thanks for that valuable clarification, @wrench1. Essentially the same as the requirements for the engine re: Part 91 vs. 135.
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 22:52
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Originally Posted by wrench1 View Post
FYI: Just to add to the above. It actually depends on how the aircraft is operated, Part 91 or Part 135, whether the 12 year becomes "mandatory." Part 91 ops only requires the owner/operator to select an inspection program which at a minimum would consist of an Annual and replacement of any items listed in the approved Airworthiness Limitations section of the MM (i.e., Ch 3, 3.300). This would also include any engine related Airworthiness Limitation items, if applicable.

On the other hand, Part 135 ops are required to follow a manufacturer's recommended maintenance program, or FAA approved alternate, which at a minimum adds the R44 Chapter 2 requirements (i.e., O/Hs, etc.) to the "mandatory" list along with the Ch 3 requirements.
This is a great example of what I was saying about airworthiness of a Robinson being tied to the maintenance manual. At least here in the US, you have to do 100 hour inspections even if the aircraft is not being operated commercially. So, a private owner, under part 91 has to do 100 inspections in addition to the annual, assuming they fly more than 100 hours per year...
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 00:02
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No, under U S part 91, not for hire ( part 91 for hire is different), you do not need 100 hr inspections to be legal. You need an annual once every calendar year. Doesn't matter what the maintenance manual says unless the 100 hr requirement is in ATA chap. 4 as an airworthiness limitation ( and it isn't). The Cessna 150 manual has a 100 hr as well and you dont need to do that under 91 either. Helicopter or airplane is no different. You had better be able to tell the FISDO wonks what inspection you are using and why, as a lot of them are misinformed. CFR 91.409 is pretty clear. As I stated above the only part of almost all maintenance manuals in the US that is FAA approved is chap 4.

Last edited by roscoe1; 25th Nov 2019 at 00:18.
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