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The Helio wing issue

Started by mrhelio, December 21, 2009, 07:21:42 AM

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We should all be aware of the certain issues facing Helio's in the aging aircraft syndrome. Most of the fleet is over 30 years old. The reason for this is as complex as the airplane itself, cause and circumstance was completely upon the operators flying into unknown territory, where, wing failure was eminent. High weight, high altitude, high cruise, and flight in moderate to severe turbulence resulting in complete destruction of the airplane. All models of Helio are affected by the AD, except for the 800/700 airframes built by Helio Aircraft LTD. from 1983-84.

I recently spoke with a well known Helio re-builder who we all know, and his theory is this: "All airplanes that are 20 years old should have mandatory wing pull and inspection" .. I can recall the recent Beech T-34 scenario where that fleet was temporarily grounded by the FAA.

If we have another Helio wing failure, count on the fleet being grounded. Inspection of the wing was originally set at 3000 hours, that my friends should now occur at 1500 hours.. Commercial operators will be the hardest hit, especially those of you who have aircraft on 135 certificates. We need to get everyone here on the same page and come with a contingency plan to address  this pressing issue. JAARS intentionally inspected their entire fleet and found some discrepancies with 3 airplanes, none of those were high time airplanes. Remember the fix will have to be consistent with FAA policies, procedures, and aircraft repair..   


The attempt to bring awareness to some issues regarding Helio's was not in any way to say the entire fleet is corrupted with corrosion malfunctions, quite the contrary. It is my intention however to make sure that if your airplane has always been hangared and never seen exposure to harsh elements you may be fine. Any airplane that is 20 years or older should have a wing pull, no matter the brand. Piper, Beech, Cessna and others have AD's and service bulletins and the only one airworthy airplane that is exempt of this is the Meyers 200. So we will come up with something within the new year to make available a fix for the Helio, if your airplane needs it, if not, you're good to go!! I come from an aero-engineering background with experience in military design and application, it just so happens that the Helio has always been my choice since 1965. A non-profit organization can be initiated to set up the procedures allowing all input from Helio owners as how to modify, repair and do the wing. Remember, a 11,000 hour airplane may be just fine, and a 1500 hour airplane may have some problems, it depends on how it is operated in and in what environment..!!!