Safety Regulators Order Inspections of Bell Helicopters

Safety regulators ordered the grounding of 2,800 aircraft built by Fort Worth-based Bell Helicopter for immediate inspection.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown said the agency wants operators of three types of helicopters to visually inspect a bearing in the co-pilot cyclic controls and replace the part if it was improperly installed.

The bearing may have been installed backwards and could lead to failure of the control that regulates up-and-down movement.

The helicopters are Bell models 407 and 427, and the 206 A, B and L series.

The FAA issued the directive Tuesday, following a similar action by Canadian officials, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Some of the models in question are used by the Dallas Police Department. The police department said its mechanics inspected their helicopters and found the aircraft did not have the flaw.

The department lost no flight time, the department said.

Greg Hubbard, a Bell Helicopter spokesman, said the company discovered the problem last week when trying to deliver a new helicopter.

He said he expects FAA to issue a new advisory limiting the grounding to less than 110 newer helicopters.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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