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Airworthiness Directives; Sikorsky Model S-61 Helicopters

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

This amendment supersedes an existing airworthiness directive (AD) for Sikorsky Model S-61 helicopters. That AD requires inspecting certain pylon upper and lower hinge web fittings (web fittings) for corrosion or a crack and either repairing certain web fittings or replacing any unairworthy web fittings with airworthy web fittings. That AD also requires creating a log card or equivalent record and implementing a recurring inspection of the web fittings. This amendment retains the requirements of that AD but corrects an error in paragraph (a)(3) by removing the words “and 3.E.” This amendment is prompted by an operator notifying the FAA of that error which requires an unnecessary major inspection within 25 hours time-in-service (TIS). The actions specified in this AD are intended to remove an undue burden on the public by superseding the AD and removing the requirement for the major inspection within 25 hours TIS.

DATES:

Effective July 18, 2000.

The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations was approved previously by the Director of the Federal Register as of March 30, 2000 (65 FR 13877, March 15, 2000).

Comments for inclusion in the Rules Docket must be received on or before September 1, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2000-SW-18-AD, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137. You may also send comments electronically to the Rules Docket at the following address: 9-asw-adcomments@faa.gov.

The service information referenced in this AD may be obtained from Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Attn: Manager, Commercial Tech Support, 6900 Main Street, P. O. Box 9729, Stratford, Connecticut 06497-9129, phone (203) 386-7860, fax (203) 386-4703. This information may be examined at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137; or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Brian K. Murphy, Aviation Safety Engineer, ANE-150, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, MA 01803, telephone (781) 238-7739, fax (781) 238-7199.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On March 6, 2000, the FAA issued AD 2000-05-16, Amendment 39-11626 (65 FR 13877, March 15, 2000). That AD for Sikorsky Model S-61 helicopters with pylon, part number (P/N) S6120-76265-001 or S6120-76266-507, installed, requires inspecting and repairing or, if necessary, replacing certain web fittings and the fitting faying surfaces. The AD also requires making an entry on the log card or equivalent record. That action was prompted by the discovery of extensive cracking in the area of the web fitting. That condition, if not corrected, could result in structural failure of certain web fittings due to stress corrosion, subsequent structural failure of the tailboom and loss of control of the helicopter.

Since the issuance of that AD, an operator notified the FAA of an error. That error is the reference in paragraph (a)(3) of the AD to paragraph 3.E. of the Accomplishment Instructions of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Alert Service Bulletin No. 61B20-33, dated September 3, 1999 (ASB). Requiring paragraph 3.E. of the ASB in paragraph (a)(3) of the AD would inadvertently require conducting a major inspection within 25 hours TIS, which is not intended. The Inspection Plan in Chart A of the ASB refers to paragraph 3.E., which specifies a major recurring inspection at 9000 flight hours or 4 years, whichever is less. That inspection is appropriately covered under paragraph (a)(6) of the AD, which requires entering on the log card or equivalent record the recurring inspection intervals in accordance with Chart A of the ASB.

Since requiring the major inspection within 25 hours TIS is not required to correct the unsafe condition, this AD supersedes AD 2000-05-16. This AD would correct the requirement that inadvertently requires conducting the major inspection in 25 hours TIS by removing the words “and 3.E.” from paragraph (a)(3) of the AD. The short Start Printed Page 40989compliance time involved is required because the superseded AD is ambiguous and the previously described major inspection requiring unscheduled disassembly of the helicopter is impractical and unnecessary to maintain safety, and creates an undue burden on the public. Therefore, correcting paragraph (a)(3) by removing the words “and 3.E.” is required and this AD must be issued immediately.

Since a situation exists that requires the immediate adoption of this regulation, it is found that notice and opportunity for prior public comment hereon are impracticable, and that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.

The FAA estimates that 125 helicopters will be affected by this AD, that it will take approximately 115 work hours to accomplish the inspection and replacement of parts, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Required parts will cost approximately $75,000 per helicopter. Based on these figures, the total cost impact of the AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $10,237,500 if the parts have to be replaced on the entire fleet.

Comments Invited

Although this action is in the form of a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety and, thus, was not preceded by notice and an opportunity for public comment, comments are invited on this rule. Interested persons are invited to comment on this 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 under the caption ADDRESSES. All communications received on or before the closing date for comments will be considered, and this rule may be amended in light of the comments received. Factual information that supports the commenter's ideas and suggestions is extremely helpful in evaluating the effectiveness of the AD action and determining whether additional rulemaking action would be needed.

Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the rule that might suggest a need to modify the 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 that summarizes each FAA-public contact concerned with the substance of this AD will be filed in the Rules Docket.

Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their mailed comments submitted in response to this rule must submit a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket No. 2000-SW-18-AD.” The postcard will be date stamped and returned to the commenter.

The regulations adopted herein will not have substantial direct effects 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.

The FAA has determined that this regulation is an emergency regulation that must be issued immediately to correct an unsafe condition in aircraft, and that it is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866. It has been determined further that this action involves an emergency regulation under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979). If it is determined that this emergency regulation otherwise would be significant under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures, a final regulatory evaluation will be prepared and placed in the Rules Docket. A copy of it, if filed, may be obtained from 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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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 removing Amendment 39-11626 (

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2000-13-06 Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation: Amendment 39-11805. Docket No. 2000-SW-18-AD. Supersedes AD 2000-05-16, Amendment 39-11626, Docket No. 99-SW-61-AD.

Applicability: Model S-61 helicopters with pylon, part number (P/N) S6120-76265-001 or S6120-76266-507, 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 (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 as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent structural failure due to a crack or corrosion of pylon upper and lower hinge web fittings (web fittings), P/N S6120-76261-012, -013 (upper) or S6120-76262-012, -013 (lower), and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter, accomplish the following:

(a) Within 25 hours time-in-service (TIS),

(1) Determine the alloy-temper of the web fittings in accordance with Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Alert Service Bulletin No. 61B20-33, dated September 3, 1999 (ASB), Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 3.A.

(2) Prepare the web fittings for inspection in accordance with the ASB Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 3.B.

(3) Inspect the web fitting in accordance with the ASB Inspection Plan, Chart A, and the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraphs 3.C. and 3.D. Nicks, scratches, corrosion pitting or prior rework beyond the limits specified in paragraph 3.C.(5) require approval by the FAA.

(4) Repair or replace web fittings, as necessary, in accordance with the ASB Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 3.C.(3) through (6). Nicks, scratches, corrosion pitting, or prior rework beyond the limits specified in paragraph 3.C.(5) require approval by the FAA.

(5) If replacing an unairworthy web fitting with an airworthy web fitting, replace it in accordance with the ASB Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 3.F., prior to further flight.

(6) Create a log card for the pylon, if none exists. Make an entry on the log card or equivalent record implementing recurring inspection intervals in accordance with Chart A of the ASB.

(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, Boston Aircraft Certification Office, FAA. Operators shall submit their requests through an FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may concur or comment and then send it to the Manager, Boston Aircraft Certification Office.

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Note 2:

Information concerning the existence of approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the Boston Aircraft Certification Office.

(c) Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with sections 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.

(d) The inspection, repair, and replacement shall be done in accordance with the Inspection Plan, Chart A, and the Accomplishment Instructions of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Alert Service Bulletin No. 61B20-33, dated September 3, 1999. This incorporation by reference of that document was approved previously by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51 as of March 30, 2000 (65 FR 13877, March 15, 2000). Copies may be obtained from Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Attn: Manager, Commercial Tech Support, 6900 Main Street, P. O. Box 9729, Stratford, Connecticut 06497-9129, phone (203) 386-7860, fax (203) 386-4703. Copies may be inspected at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas; or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.

(e) This amendment becomes effective on July 18, 2000.

Start Signature

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 19, 2000.

Eric Bries,

Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 00-16356 Filed 6-30-00; 8:45 am]

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