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Airworthiness Directives; Eurocopter France Model SA-365N1, AS-365N2, and SA-366G1 Helicopters

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD) that applies to Eurocopter France Model SA-365N1, AS-365N2, and SA-366G1 helicopters and requires conducting inspections of each tail rotor blade for bonding separation, measuring the clearance between the tip of each tail rotor blade and the circumference of the air duct, and replacing the blade if necessary. This amendment is prompted by an inflight incident in which the tail rotor blades were significantly damaged due to bonding separation. The actions specified by this AD are intended to prevent damage to a tail rotor blade, loss of tail rotor control, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

June 21, 2000.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sharon Miles, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Regulations Group, Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0111, telephone (817) 222-5122, fax (817) 222-5961.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A proposal to amend part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) to include an AD for Eurocopter France Model SA-365N1, AS-365N2, and SA-366G1 helicopters was published in the Federal Register on February 29, 2000 (65 FR 10724). That action proposed to require conducting inspections of each tail rotor blade for bonding separation, measuring the clearance between the tip of each tail rotor blade and the circumference of the air duct, and replacing the blade if necessary.

Interested persons have been afforded an opportunity to participate in the making of this amendment. No comments were received on the proposal or the FAA's determination of the cost to the public. The FAA has determined that air safety and the public interest require the adoption of the rule as proposed.

The FAA estimates that 136 helicopters of U.S. registry will be affected by this AD, that it will take approximately 1 work hour per helicopter to accomplish the required actions, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Required parts will cost approximately $1,000 per helicopter. Based on these figures, the total cost impact of the AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $144,160.

The regulations adopted herein will 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 final rule does not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this action: (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979); and (3) 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 final evaluation has been prepared for this action and it is contained in the Rules Docket. A copy of it may be obtained from the Rules Docket at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas.

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List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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Adoption of the Amendment

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Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration amends part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (

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PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

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

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AD 2000-10-08 Eurocopter France: Amendment 39-11732. Docket No. 99-SW-34-AD.

Applicability: Model SA-365N1, AS-365N2, and SA-366G1 helicopters, with a tail rotor blade, part number (P/N) 365A33-2131, 365A12-0010, or 365A12-0020, all dash numbers, installed, 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 (f) 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 as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent damage to a tail rotor blade (blade), loss of tail rotor control, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter:

(a) Within 10 hours time-in-service (TIS) and thereafter prior to the first flight of each day, conduct the following visual inspection of each blade (see Figure 1):

(1) Zone A: If a blister is detected on the blade suction face, conduct a tapping test inspection on the whole blade for bonding separation. If bonding separation or a crack is found, replace the blade with an airworthy blade before further flight.

(2) Zone B: If a crack, wrinkling, or a blister is found, replace the blade with an airworthy blade before further flight.

(b) Within 10 hours TIS, conduct a tapping test inspection on each blade. If there is bonding separation, replace the blade with an airworthy blade before further flight.

Note 2:

Revisions 5 of Eurocopter France Service Bulletins 05.09 and 05.00.17, both dated December 18, 1998, pertain to the subject of this AD.

(c) Thereafter, at intervals not to exceed 25 hours TIS or every 50 cycles (each takeoff and landing equals 1 cycle), whichever occurs first, conduct a tapping test inspection for bonding separation on all blades with a serial number (S/N) less than 18912, and blades, P/N 365A12-0020-00 or 365A12-0020-01, with a S/N equal to or greater than 18912. If bonding separation or a crack is found, replace the blade with an airworthy blade before further flight.

(d) Thereafter, at intervals not to exceed 100 hours TIS or 200 cycles, whichever occurs first, conduct a tapping test inspection for bonding separation on blades, P/N 365A12-0020-02 or 365A12-0020-03. If bonding separation or a crack is found, replace the blade with an airworthy blade before further flight.

(e) Within 10 hours TIS, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 100 hours TIS or 200 cycles, whichever occurs first, measure the blade-to-air duct clearance. If the clearance is less than 3 mm, replace the blade with an airworthy blade before further flight.

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(f) 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 3:

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

(g) 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.

(h) This amendment becomes effective on June 21, 2000.

Note 4:

The subject of this AD is addressed in Direction Generale De L'Aviation Civile AD's 88-152-010(A)R5 and 88-153-023(A)R5, both dated December 30, 1998.

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Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 9, 2000.

Henry A. Armstrong,

Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 00-12354 Filed 5-16-00; 8:45 am]

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