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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron Canada (BHTC) Model 222, 222B, 222U, and 230 Helicopters

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness directive (AD) applicable to BHTC Model 222, 222B, 222U, and 230 helicopters. This proposal would require inspecting each flapping bearing to yoke attachment bolt (bolt) and replacing each bolt that shows thread damage, shank wear, or corrosion Start Printed Page 11007pitting with an airworthy bolt. This proposal is prompted by the discovery of a fractured bolt during a post-flight inspection. The actions specified by the proposed AD are intended to prevent a fracture of a bolt, failure of the bearing and yoke interface, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before May 1, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, Attention: Rules Docket No. 99-SW-43-AD, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas. Comments may be inspected at this location between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

The service information referenced in the proposed rule may be obtained from Bell Helicopter Textron Canada, 12,800 Rue de l'Avenir, Mirabel, Quebec JON1LO, telephone (800) 463-3036, fax (514) 433-0272. This information may be examined at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sharon Miles, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Rotorcraft Standards Staff, Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0111, telephone (817) 222-5122, fax (817) 222-5961.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

Interested persons are invited to participate in the making of the proposed rule by submitting such written data, views, or arguments as they may desire. Communications should identify the Rules Docket number and be submitted in triplicate to the address specified above. All communications received on or before the closing date for comments, specified above, will be considered before taking action on the proposed rule. The proposals contained in this notice may be changed in light of the comments received.

Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the proposed rule. All comments submitted will be available, both before and after the closing date for comments, in the Rules Docket for examination by interested persons. A report summarizing each FAA-public contact concerned with the substance of this proposal will be filed in the Rules Docket.

Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments submitted in response to this notice must submit a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket No. 99-SW-43-AD.” The postcard will be date stamped and returned to the commenter.

Availability of NPRMs

Any person may obtain a copy of this NPRM by submitting a request to the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, Attention: Rules Docket No. 99-SW-43-AD, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137.

Discussion

Transport Canada, the airworthiness authority for Canada, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on BHTC Model 222, 222B, 222U, and 230 helicopters. Transport Canada advises that an inspection revealed a fractured bolt due to stress corrosion. Stress-corrosion from a combination of mechanical wear, fatigue, and environmental exposure caused the bolt to fail.

BHTC has issued Alert Service Bulletins (ASB's) 230-98-15, 222-98-83, and 222U-98-54, all dated October 12, 1998, which specify inspecting the bolts and replacing each bolt that shows thread damage, shank wear, or corrosion pitting with an airworthy bolt. Transport Canada classified these ASB's as mandatory and issued AD's CF-99-12 and CF-99-13, both dated April 21, 1999, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these helicopters in Canada.

These helicopter models are manufactured in Canada and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of section 21.29 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.29) and the applicable bilateral airworthiness agreement. Pursuant to this bilateral airworthiness agreement, Transport Canada has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of Transport Canada, reviewed all available information, and determined that AD action is necessary for products of these type designs that are certificated for operation in the United States.

Since an unsafe condition has been identified that is likely to exist or develop on other BHTC Model 222, 222B, 222U, and 230 helicopters of the same type designs registered in the United States, the proposed AD would require inspecting the bolts and replacing each bolt that shows thread damage, shank wear, or corrosion with an airworthy bolt.

The FAA estimates that 101 helicopters of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 3 work hours per helicopter to accomplish the proposed actions, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Required parts would cost approximately $20 per bolt. Based on these figures, the total cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $20,200.

The regulations proposed herein would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, it is determined that this proposal would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this proposed regulation: (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under the DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979); and (3) if promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. A copy of the draft regulatory evaluation prepared for this action is contained in the Rules Docket. A copy of it may be obtained by contacting the Rules Docket at the location provided under the caption ADDRESSES.

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List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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The Proposed Amendment

Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) as follows:

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PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

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[Amended]

2. Section 39.13 is amended by adding a new airworthiness directive to read as follows:

Bell Helicopter Textron Canada: Docket No. 99-SW-43-AD.

Applicability: Model 222 helicopters, serial number (S/N) 47006 through 47089; Model 222B helicopters, S/N 47131 through 47156; Start Printed Page 11008Model 222U helicopters, S/N 47501 through 47574; and Model 230 helicopters, S/N 23001 through 23038 inclusive, certificated in any category.

Note 1:

This AD applies to each helicopter identified in the preceding applicability provision, regardless of whether it has been otherwise modified, altered, or repaired in the area subject to the requirements of this AD. For helicopters that have been modified, altered, or repaired so that the performance of the requirements of this AD is affected, the owner/operator must request approval for an alternative method of compliance in accordance with paragraph (b) of this AD. The request should include an assessment of the effect of the modification, alteration, or repair on the unsafe condition addressed by this AD; and, if the unsafe condition has not been eliminated, the request should include specific proposed actions to address it.

Compliance: Required within 150 hours time-in-service, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent the fracture of a flapping bearing to yoke attachment bolt (bolt), failure of the bearing and yoke interface, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter, accomplish the following:

(a) Remove one bolt at a time and inspect each bolt located as shown in Figure 1.

Note 2:

For main rotor hubs installed on rotorcraft, the bolts may be removed, inspected, and installed one at a time.

Note 3:

Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Alert Service Bulletins 230-98-15, 222-98-83, and 222U-98-54, all dated October 12, 1998, pertain to the subject of this AD.

(1) Clean each bolt with a cloth dampened with methyl ethyl ketone, RHO SOLV756, Desoto 110, or equivalent.

(2) Visually inspect each bolt and discard those that have thread damage, shank wear, or corrosion.

(3) Apply corrosion preventative compound MIL-C-16173 GR2, or equivalent, to the shank of the bolt only.

(4) Install, torque, and lockwire each bolt.

(5) Coat each bolt head and nut with corrosion preventative compound MIL-C-16173 GR1 or equivalent.

(b) An alternative method of compliance or adjustment of the compliance time that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used if approved by the Manager, Regulations Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA. Operators shall submit their requests through an FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may concur or comment and then send it to the Manager, Regulations Group.

Note 4:

Information concerning the existence of approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the Regulations Group.

(c) Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with §§ 21.197 and 21.199 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199) to operate the helicopter to a location where the requirements of this AD can be accomplished.

Note 5:

The subject of this AD is addressed in Transport Canada (Canada) AD's CF-99-12 and CF-99-13, both dated April 21, 1999.

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Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on February 22, 2000.

Henry A. Armstrong,

Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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BILLING CODE 4910-13-U

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[FR Doc. 00-4798 Filed 2-29-00; 8:45 am]

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