China have launched a new import requirement, with helicopter manufacturers needing to provide Electrical Load Analysis (ELA) data. We understand most manufacturers sent representatives to China for a meeting some weeks back, and most or all of the helicopter types produced by these companies continue to be approved. Bell have confirmed to HeliHub that this has been a “non-issue” for them and their various models continue to be imported into the country without delay.
But not Robinson.
Robinson did not send a representative, and say that the issue is between FAA and the Chinese authorities (CAAC). Robinson told HeliHub that the ELA data sheet is not part of the bilateral agreement between China and the US, adding that the FAA and the CAAC are currently working together to determine the manufacturer’s responsibilities regarding the ELA data sheet on each aircraft. Robinson continues to wait for the results of those discussions, and neither the FAA or the CAAC has provided them with an estimated date of resolution.
An ELA is normally required only if electrical modifications in the field are contemplated, something CAAC have confirmed. We understand that Robinson would not be happy to providing a document that facilitates the modification of its helicopters, on the basis that the modifier may not appreciate all the potential safety effects of the work being done. HeliHub is not aware of any Chinese company actually proposing a modification like this, but the provision of this data would obviously open the possibility for it to happen. The FAA have apparently told Robinson not to communicate with CAAC on the matter.
Various helicopters have been supplied from the factory in Torrance, but are just sat for over two months – in some cases still in their crates – and will not be able to complete the importation process until the impasse is sorted. At least ten new helicopters are already involved, and potentially a lot more as the delivery stock pile continues. In line with production rates, it is mostly R44s that are affected. At the rate the “discussions” are progressing, two months could turn into six, and a key Robinson market dries up.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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