Bell Helicopter Safety Inspections Expanded by FAA After June Crash

U.S. aviation regulators are expected to add hundreds of Bell helicopters to an emergency order requiring inspections of potentially faulty rotors that led to a June 28 fatal crash in Canada.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday the number of copters that must be inspected before they can fly will be about 359 in the U.S. and approximately 529 worldwide. An emergency directive issued Wednesday applied to only 140 helicopters in the U.S.

Bell is a subsidiary of Textron Inc. Bell and Textron didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The latest order is similar to the earlier one that applied to certain Bell 212, 204 and 205 models. It will apply to aircraft used by the military, law enforcement, and for forest and wildlife conservation and mineral exploration. The manufacturer notified regulators that the issue could apply to additional aircraft, according to the FAA.

The models date back to the 1960s and versions for the military were known as the Huey. They are a popular helicopter used by police departments, TV news stations and air-ambulance companies.

Canadian investigators looking into the crash last month found that a pin holding the main rotor on the helicopter had failed after only 20 hours of service, according to the FAA. An inspection found a second such pin had deformed on another aircraft after only 29 hours of use.

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