Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:24 pm Post subject: White smoke
After a first check of the R22 B this morning all was found to be in order. I started the aircraft and enjoyed a private flight over a Castle and then returned to my point of departure. Throughout the flight and during my approach to land all T's and P's were in the green and all was well. While in a 3-4 ft hover I noticed white smoke blowing from the right side of the aircraft. I put the aircraft on the ground and collective down, frictions on and opened the door and looked behind my right side to confirm (white smoke) .
I closed my door and re-checked all my instruments which indicated normal. It was at this point when I made the call to ATC and asked to be cleared back to the hanger. I made a ginger takeoff to a low hover while keeping a close eye on the oil temp/ pressure and cylinder head temp gauges and a slow and low taxi back to the hanger.
I shut down the helicopter and got out to inspect for damage. I could see that one of the tension wires had failed and a steel plate had dropped onto the aluminium oil pipe that leads from one of the two rocker covers on the right side. The plate had been resting and vibrating on the aluminium oil line and cut through the top portion causing a leak which in turn dripped onto the exhaust.
I checked the oil level and to my surprise I hadn't actually lost much at all. After talking to the engineer he explained that the line was not pressurised so It would have dripped for quite a while.
I was suprised to find this fault on landing especially as I had checked the lines prior to flight. It just goes to show that I either didn't check them as well as I thought I did or this can happen quite quickly.
Another item added to my checklist, I will specifically be looking for this each time I fly from now on.
Has anyone else had a similar experience?
Yeah, if the little spring wire that holds the engine sheet metal in place fails it will saw through the oil return line. Easy to miss on a pre-flight. We had one do that a few years ago and it smoked enough that the tower advised. It doesn't lose much oil but it can be pretty spectacular.
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