A new elastomeric tail rotor bearing offered by LORD Corporation for the AS350 helicopter allows for extended visual inspection periods and therefore less downtime, the company says.
With the newly-improved part, which the company says is “specifically engineered to extend the visual inspection timeframe,” LORD estimates that maintainers will be able to switch from weekly to monthly inspections. Current requirements for the OEM version of the AS350 tail rotor bearing include a visual inspection every 10 hours.
“An AS350 helicopter is typically flown between 300 to 600 hours a year,” said Rodolphe Leroy, manager of global aftermarket sales and marketing. "In most cases, the bearings do not reach this mark and are replaced before reaching 600 flight hours. The intent of the design is to make sure there would be no unscheduled removal.”
The company is finalizing validation testing and pending FAA certification on the bearing.