Van Horn receives STC for composite blades on Bell 206L
August 23, 2018 By Helicopters Staff
Van Horn Aviation received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for composite main rotor blades installed on the Bell 206L LongRanger helicopter.
Loosely based on Van Horn Aviation’s (VHA) composite 206B JetRanger main rotor blades, which were certificated in 2016, the new VHA LongRanger main rotor blades have been approved with a 16,000-hour service life, which is four times the life of the current OEM metal blades.
“Our LongRanger main rotor blades reflect several design changes over the JetRanger blades due to inherent differences in the transmission suspension,” said VHA CEO James Van Horn. “Besides being 22 inches longer than the JetRanger blades, the LongRanger blades also use different carbon fiber layup schedules and leading edge/tip weight distribution.”
The VHA 206L LongRanger main rotor blades use the same carbon fiber materials and construction methods as the company’s 206B JetRanger main rotor blades. Both blades feature carbon fiber skin and spars, titanium root grips, NASA-designed laminar-flow airfoils and tapered tips.
Stainless steel and nickel abrasion strips cover the entire length of the blade for erosion and lightning strike protection. The VHA blades use the identical installation configuration as the OEM blades, which Van Horn explains to allow for direct replacement without hub modification.
The VHA LongRanger main rotor blades have a 16,000-hour service life with overhauls (consisting mainly of replacing the root grips) required every 4,000 hours. VHA 206B JetRanger blades are exclusively available through Aeronautical Accessories, but Van Horn is also currently selling the 206L LongRanger main rotor blades direct at a price of $55,000 per blade through December 31, 2018.
“Due to increases in manufacturing efficiencies learned through the last two years of building JetRanger blades, we’re able to lower the price of the LongRanger main blades, at least temporarily,” said VHA President Dean Rosenlof. “We anticipate an increase in 2019 prices.”