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Robinson service and sense of responsibility - or lack of it

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Robinson service and sense of responsibility - or lack of it

Old 15th May 2020, 12:29
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Robinson service and sense of responsibility - or lack of it

Been flying R44's commercially for 13 years, some 2.800 hours. Been quiet fun with them ... until now.

Current R44 got new main rotorblades, but after just 34 hours a lot of the yellow or black paint peeled off in big chunks especially the last hour.

Robinson contacted, they are very sorry for the poor paintjob they had done and they are willing to pay for a local painter in Denmark to repaint them.
Then they backtracked when they got the price for the repaint job, and also did not want to guarantee the paintjob if they do not do it themselves.

So now I've got a R44 AOG for additional 3 weeks (4-5 in total), if we are lucky instead of just 1-2 weeks AOG. Thanks Robinson, great service (not really) ...

If they don't want to guarantee a local repaint job for blades they have done a piss-poor job on, they should send us new blades instead of letting the customer wait several weeks for a repaint. They made the faulty blades, not their customer.

This lack of service and lack of responsibility of ones own faults really pisses me off ... if I treated my customers this way, I wouldn't have any very soon.

And we are apparently not the first case. Another Danish R44 had both its paint and primer paint peeling off back in 2017 after just some 30 hours, again Robinson did not want to guarantee a local repaint despite done through a Robinson approved maintenance facility.

Robinson: This is NOT ok especially for a commercial operator that relies on their helicopter(s) !!




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Old 15th May 2020, 13:05
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Don’t see the Danish link. If the blades all come out of the US then everybody’s blades should be peeling the same?
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Old 15th May 2020, 13:09
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Originally Posted by helicopter-redeye View Post
Don’t see the Danish link. If the blades all come out of the US then everybody’s blades should be peeling the same?
I don't say there is a Danish link. But I can only speak to what I know of, that is the Danish market. If others around the world have experienced similarly, I wouldn't know unless they speak up ..
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Old 15th May 2020, 14:24
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Consumer law for products with major defects occurring early in a warranty period ordinarily requires product replacement. They should ship you a new set of blades, and pay shipping on the return of your defective blades.
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Old 15th May 2020, 14:45
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It's not simply that products fail, it's the manufacturer's response when they do that really counts. That paint problem is clearly unacceptable, but maybe it's the paint that's bad, not Robinson.

But that makes no difference to how the customer should be treated. If a customer needs to rely on consumer law to force a manufacturer to do what's right, that manufacturer has lost the plot.

As it is, their response as described is suicidal. Are they determined to lose business? Their product isn't so unique, or desirable, or cheap that they can afford to behave like that.

A replacement set of blades should have been shipped within hours, no ifs, no buts. It's an AOG situation in a commercial operation, isn't it? Plus a proper, urgent, technical investigation into why the paint stripped off like that, with an identified remedial action plan. Just repainting with the same paint/primer/process, in a local approved shop or by the manufacturer, does not cut the mustard.

Last edited by old,not bold; 15th May 2020 at 14:56.
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Old 15th May 2020, 15:36
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Wow, that's really bad, in more ways than one

Just put some new blades an R44 here back in Jan. Not too many hours on them yet.
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Old 15th May 2020, 17:06
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Not a Robbie guy but I have a few connections....
Welcome to manufacturing in California...where high quality paint is banned and the mediocre paint that the state actually allows has so many restrictions on how/when/where it can be applied that Robinson was nearly forced to send every aircraft to Mexico just to be painted. They instead spent millions of dollars to construct a California state-approved paint shack using California state-approved paint.
This is your California state-approved paint job.
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Old 15th May 2020, 17:42
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Did it fly in rain with the new blades?
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Old 15th May 2020, 18:35
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Originally Posted by Buitenzorg View Post
Did it fly in rain with the new blades?
Funny you mention that. Robinson also initially asked that, which I found hilarious asking from the manufacturer, thinking its a Clipper version ..
And the answer is yes, it has flown through a few light showers in VMC conditions ..
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Old 15th May 2020, 18:46
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Ship I know of is on its third set of blades in 1000hrs - and that wasn’t even the paint.
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Old 15th May 2020, 19:17
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Quote: Did it fly in rain with the new blades?

Why? You think they used aquarell color?
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Old 15th May 2020, 19:54
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I was told Robinson cant use paint/ primer of certain types due to California's law, not sure how true it is.
I know some places pre feather the paint on the leading edge of new blades to try and reduce this from happening.

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Old 16th May 2020, 00:55
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I was told Robinson cant use paint/ primer of certain types due to California's law, not sure how true it is.
It's true. Quality aviation paint shops moved out of California when they introduced their EPA rules about paint, memory has faded, but it was a long time ago it happened.
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Old 16th May 2020, 09:53
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Originally Posted by megan View Post
It's true. Quality aviation paint shops moved out of California when they introduced their EPA rules about paint, memory has faded, but it was a long time ago it happened.
This may be the case but Robinson has elected to adopt California EPA regulation and have apparently succeeded as the paint does not come off from all aircraft.

What is worrying is that Robinson apparently have not sufficient control over the environmental conditions inside the paint booth or sufficient control on surface preparation.

If they have not this control in the paint system,
What about their resin bonding system?
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Old 16th May 2020, 16:05
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Originally Posted by Myrtletheturtle View Post
I was told Robinson cant use paint/ primer of certain types due to California's law, not sure how true it is.
FYI: as mentioned above, it's true as solvent based paints became illegal to sell in CA. However, the vehicle/aircraft paint industry has been moving toward waterborne paints for quite some time now. These non-solvent paints have different characteristics and require a different application technique as well as are a little more sensitive to environmental conditions. That still doesn't explain the OPs problem or Robbies response. Perhaps there's more to this as I'm curious if the "Robinson" contacted is a local/Euro dealer or the head shed in US.
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Old 16th May 2020, 17:20
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Originally Posted by wrench1 View Post
Perhaps there's more to this as I'm curious if the "Robinson" contacted is a local/Euro dealer or the head shed in US.
Nope, its very straight forward. The operator I fly under is also a Robinson Service Center so they also maintain the helicopter regularly, so I know first-hand they talked to Robinson Helicopter Company directly about this.
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Old 17th May 2020, 08:05
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Originally Posted by madman1145 View Post
Funny you mention that. Robinson also initially asked that, which I found hilarious asking from the manufacturer, thinking its a Clipper version ..
And the answer is yes, it has flown through a few light showers in VMC conditions ..
Why? You think they used aquarell color?
Because quite some time ago, during a ferry of a freshly-factory-overhauled R22, I had occasion to fly it through drizzle for rather less than half an hour and picked up similar damage to paint of the MR blades, on the outboard 2-3 ft of the leading edges. The operator enquired and found out that freshly-applied paint, although dry, takes another ~6 months to fully “harden”. Water droplets hitting the leading edge at close to the speed of sound can crack the softer coat of paint there, and subsequent impacting droplets will get under the layer of paint and peel it back. We were pulling ~3” of manifold pressure more to hover at the end of this short flight than on initial takeoff, due to the extra drag from the layer of paint standing up from the blades’ surface. It was recommended to try and avoid flying in even light rain for the first 6 months after blades are painted.
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Old 17th May 2020, 08:23
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Originally Posted by Buitenzorg View Post
It was recommended to try and avoid flying in even light rain for the first 6 months after blades are painted.
That sums up the Robinson philosophy quite well: If you can't do something properly, make it the pilot's problem.
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Old 17th May 2020, 10:43
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Originally Posted by Buitenzorg View Post
It was recommended to try and avoid flying in even light rain for the first 6 months after blades are painted.
If that is the case, Robinson should make an amendment to the POH or Safety Notice or such like.

And its quiet scary you mention you needed 3" more power than normal, due to contaminated blades we can call them. That is a real safety issue, its not that the R22 is overpowered to start with ...

Last edited by madman1145; 17th May 2020 at 11:02.
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Old 17th May 2020, 11:00
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Originally Posted by madman1145 View Post
If that is the case, Robinson should make an amendment to the POH or Safety Notice or such like.
What about not delivering blades until the paint is hardened enough for the real world ?
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