- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal safety officials are grounding 2,800 Bell helicopters in a search for improperly installed bearings that could cause the co-pilot controls to malfunction.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown says the agency wants operators of three types of helicopters to visually inspect a bearing in the co-pilot cyclic controls and replace the part if it was improperly installed. The helicopters are Bell models 407 and 427, and the 206 A, B and L series.

Greg Hubbard, a spokesman for the Fort Worth, Texas-based Bell Helicopter, said the company discovered the problem last week when trying to deliver a new helicopter. He said he expects FAA to issue a new advisory limiting the grounding to less than 110 newer helicopters.

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