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Airworthiness Directives; Eurocopter France Model AS332L2 Helicopters

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Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.


Final rule; request for comments.


This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Eurocopter France Model AS332L2 helicopters. This action requires inspecting the main frame for a crack and repairing any unairworthy frame before further flight. This amendment is prompted by a report of cracks on the right-hand (RH) side of a main frame. This condition, if not corrected, could result in failure of the main frame and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.


Effective January 31, 2002.

Comments for inclusion in the Rules Docket must be received on or before March 18, 2002.


Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Start Printed Page 2133Administration (FAA), Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-SW-11-AD, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137. You may also send comments electronically to the Rules Docket at the following address:

Start Further Info


Jim Grigg, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Regulations Group, Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0110, telephone (817) 222-5490, fax (817) 222-5961.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information


The Direction Generale De L'Aviation Civile (DGAC), the airworthiness authority for France, notified us that an unsafe condition may exist on Eurocopter France Model AS332L2 helicopters. The DGAC advises of cracks on the right-hand (RH) side of main frame 5295.

Eurocopter France has issued Alert Telex No. 53.01.28 R4, dated July 11, 2001 (Telex). This Telex specifies checking main frame 5295 and repairing any unairworthy main frame. The DGAC classified this Telex as mandatory and issued AD No. 2000-463-016(A), R4, dated September 5, 2001, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these helicopters in France.

We have identified an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of the same type design should they become registered in the United States. This AD is being issued to prevent failure of the main frame and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. This AD requires inspecting main frame 5295 within specified intervals and, before further flight, repairing any unairworthy main frame.

None of the helicopters affected by this action are on the U.S. Register. Non-U.S. operators under foreign registry currently operate all helicopters included in the applicability of this rule and, therefore, are not directly affected by this AD action. However, the FAA considers that this rule is necessary to ensure that the unsafe condition is addressed in the event that any of these subject helicopters are imported and placed on the U.S. Register in the future.

Should an affected helicopter be imported and placed on the U.S. Register in the future, it would require approximately 8 work hours to inspect main frame 5295 at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the cost impact of this AD would be $480 to inspect each helicopter, assuming no crack was found.

Since this AD action does not affect any helicopter that is currently on the U.S. register, it has no adverse economic impact and imposes no additional burden on any person. Therefore, notice and public procedures hereon are unnecessary and the amendment may be made effective in less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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 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.

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.

The FAA has determined that notice and prior public comment are unnecessary in promulgating this regulation; therefore, it can be issued immediately to correct an unsafe condition in aircraft since none of these model helicopters are registered in the United States. The FAA has also determined that this regulation 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

  • Air transportation
  • Aircraft
  • Aviation safety
  • Safety
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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 (14 CFR part 39) as follows:

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

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2002-01-06 Eurocopter France: Amendment 39-12597. Docket No. 2001-SW-11-AD.

Applicability: Model AS332L2 helicopters, 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 (d) 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 failure of main frame 5295 and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter, accomplish the following:

(a) Within the next 50 hours time-in-service (TIS) for helicopters with 5000 or more hours TIS and before accumulating 5050 hours TIS for helicopters with less than 5000 hours TIS,

(1) At main frame 5295, remove the trim from the horizontal members at Z1350 on both sides of the helicopter.

(2) Visually inspect for a crack:

(i) Above the horizontal members at Z1350.

(ii) At the blending radii of the attachment ribs of the horizontal members below Z1350. Start Printed Page 2134

(b) After accomplishing paragraph (a) of this AD, thereafter, at intervals not to exceed 200 hours TIS, repeat the visual inspection required by paragraph (a) of this AD.

(c) Repair any unairworthy main frame 5295 before further flight.

Note 2:

Eurocopter France Alert Telex No. 53.01.28 R4, dated July 11, 2001, pertains to the subject of this AD.

(d) 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.

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

(f) This amendment becomes effective on January 31, 2002.

Note 4:

The subject of this AD is addressed in Direction Generale De L'Aviation Civile (France) AD No. 2000-463-016(A), R4, dated September 5, 2001.

Start Signature

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on January 4, 2002.

David A. Downey,

Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 02-1056 Filed 1-15-02; 8:45 am]