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HeliTorque :: View topic - Agusta Bell 206 -v- Bell 206 -v- EASA
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Agusta Bell 206 -v- Bell 206 -v- EASA
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Thomas Coupling
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:33 am    Post subject: Agusta Bell 206 -v- Bell 206 -v- EASA Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

I am hoping, that through the forum, I can reach the owners/operators of AB206's throughout Europe. 487 machines (or thereabouts) were built by Agusta, 40 of which reside in the UK. I have written the below correspondence to the UK owners, and have received a high percentage of replies - all of which I must add, consisted of negativity concerning the current standards of parts availability under the new EASA ruling.

I am working hard to hopefully resolve this bizarre problem, and would welcome comments from any AB206 owner/operators with experiences, both good or bad in obtaining parts. Please contact me via either PM or email in this regard. Thanks for your time!

TC Wink

===============================================
Dear AB206 owner,

From personal experience of the delays in getting parts for my Agusta Bell 206, I feel it necessary to publish this open discussion document regarding the supply of approved parts for my AB206. Due to recent changes in legislation and the rigorous enforcing of the "No Bell parts to be fitted to an Agusta Bell", I have found that the support for the Agusta Bell Fleet in UK to be sadly lacking.Having discovered that the majority of the parts supplied by Agusta for fitment to AB206's are sourced from Bell Helicopters, and then submitted for inspection prior to having an EASA Form 1 produced by the Type Certificate owner, it begs the question "Why does it take so long to get AB206 parts?"Having suffered recently from the lack of parts availability, and the grounding of my aircraft until the parts were received (nearly 7 weeks for a half-shaft bearing), I decided to investigate this further, so that I could satisfy myself that everything was either being done or going to be done to keep me airworthy and legal in the future.I contacted EASA and the CAA regarding my plight, however, as supportive and sympathetic as they were, the outcome was not going to change.It is apparent that due to the fact "everybody" was fitting Bell parts to their Agusta because the lead times/availability were good, Agusta were not aware of the amount of items that were required to support the UK fleet. Thus, the provisioning of the parts by Agusta to support the AB206 got smaller and smaller to the point were everyday items were not available. Now that the new legislation is starting to bite, and maintenance companies are under considerable obligation to fit "Applicable" parts, the provisioning of the parts really has to start from scratch it appears. One could consider that other EASA regulated countries still toed the line, and would have given Agusta a feel for the requirements, but further contact with European owners/operators indicated an ignorance or avoidance of the "No Bell parts to be fitted to an Agusta Bell" ruling.I am also aware that extra discounts are available to Agusta Service Centres if parts for scheduled maintenance are ordered 12 months or more in advance, thus allowing Agusta a reasonable amount of time to provision for known parts that are arising.I would much appreciate any feedback from Agusta Bell 206 owners regarding the supply of parts from Agusta, and the effects that they have experienced due to encountering the same problems that I have recently.

I have a meeting scheduled with Agusta senior management before the end of the year. It would be extremely helpful if all owner/operators could contact me as soon as possible in this regard with your experiences/current problems and observations.




Thank you in advance,

Kind regards.
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HeliCraig
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi TC,

There is a similar post to yours on PPRUNE at the moment, from a Graham Elliott. Is this also you, or another aggrieved AB206 owner?

Not being an a/c owner you may have to correct me with the next bit! Is it the case that when you require a part for your a/c and your maintenance outfit doesn't have it in stock they ring the UK authorised dealer / importer for the manufacturer and ask them for the part. If they don't have it then they would order it from the manufacturer who will supply as and when the part becomes available?

So effectively you are at the end of the long chain back to the manufacturer, unless your maintenance org happens also to be the UK dealer? Or can any maintenance org approved for the type buy directly from the manufacturers spares department? (I appreciate that may vary by manufacturer).

I presume Sloane's (being an Agusta agent for the UK) have become your parts supplier now the rule change has forced Agusta parts, or are there other sources of Agusta parts?

Regards,

HC
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Thomas Coupling
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the very same! Wink

Agusta manufactured nearly 500 machines under licence from Bell. Therefore Agusta has the type certificate for those machines, and Agusta, therefore, are responsible for issuing A.D’s and other safety related matters. For years we sourced parts from the Bell factory. Delivery times ranged from between 48 hours to a maximum one week.

How this all came about, was a Canadian operator fitted a Bell main rotor blade on its Agusta Bell. Later, that machine was involved in an incident (not related to the main rotor blade), and after investigation, was found to be a “cut–n-shut” Agusta with many Bell parts fitted, ask Flying Sniffer (but stand well back when you do!), his is a half and half machine. Enter stage left, EASA! Who basically said, that no Bell parts could be fitted to an Agusta Bell without EASA form 1.

EASA form 1, is a certificate issued by Agusta to certify the part as an “Agusta” component, which is third partied from Bell, and will still display the Bell part number. After inspection (big cough at that point) the part, is then forwarded to the operator, charging retrospectively for handling, and Form 1 certification. The parts can take somewhere between 6 weeks, to 5 Months to arrive.

Bell do not have an issue supplying Bell parts to Agusta Bell owners direct, afterall, it is "really" a Bell. Agusta don’t want (or need) the “small-fry” B206 fleet = Stalemate! EASA will not alter its decision, after all, I suppose it could be argued that they do have our safety in mind, and any AD that is required to be issued, Agusta ultimately has that responsibility to it's pilots.

What would be the answer, I think. Is to transfer the type certificate of Agusta Bells, back to Bell. All 206’s, now have to be maintained by recognised Bell service centres (Another EASA ruling), therefore all Agusta’s, could be certified back as Bell. But that’s only my view at the moment, although eyebrows were raised in Italy when I suggested it last week! so you never know, it might work?

The UK AB206 fleet is worth around the £10m mark. Regular standard servicing parts business, alone per year, is valued at around £5m. Hardly small fry.

Sloanes, although Agusta agents, can't get the parts any quicker, due to the type certification requirements of EASA.

TC
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ouch... sorry that you find yourself there TC - sounds like being between a rock and a paper cut! Shocked

As you say, the amounts involved are far from small beans - so hopefully a solution can be found for all of you. On the face of it, yours seems to be a relatively pain free solution (except for those making a small fortune out of certification process for what is essentially a known good part!).

Hope everything pans out OK in the end - keep us all up to date; its intriguing!

All the best.

HC.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Luckily for us in NZ our CAA has seen the light for some things and run all B206 and AB206's together. also they have never questioned Bell parts on an AB, as everyone knows that it is a Bell....

They even let the smaller hughes and Kawasakis run same parts, maintenance etc.

This may have come about from Bell saying that no AB parts can be installed on a Bell. If you have a AB part, with a Bell logcard and a AB form 1, then loose the form 1, is it now a Bell part again????

On another note, anyone know of anyone operating AB204's in GB or Europe? or any for sale?

db
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