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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Eurocopter France Model AS332C, AS332L, AS332L1, SA330F, SA330G, and SA330J 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 adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Eurocopter France (ECF) Model AS332C, AS332L, AS332L1, SA330F, SA330G, and SA330J helicopters. This proposal would require inspecting the tail rotor pitch change rod (change rod) bearing and replacing the bearing if the bearing does not meet the specified tolerance. Also, this proposal would require inspecting the bearing for spalling, friction, and grinding and removing any unairworthy bearing. This proposal is prompted by the seizure of a bearing on an ECF Model SA330 helicopter. The actions specified by this proposed AD are intended to prevent bearing wear, bearing seizure of the change rod, loss of tail rotor effectiveness, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before September 17, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-SW-35-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. Comments may be inspected at the Office of the Regional Counsel between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jim Grigg, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Rotorcraft Standards Staff, Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0110, telephone (817) 222-5490, 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 will be considered before taking action on the proposed rule. The proposals contained in this document 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 Start Printed Page 47489and 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 mailed comments submitted in response to this proposal must submit a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket No. 2001-SW-35-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. 2001-SW-35-AD, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137.

Discussion

The Direction Generale De L'Aviation Civile (DGAC), the airworthiness authority for France, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on ECF Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, AS332L1, SA330F, SA330G, and SA330J helicopters. The DGAC advises that the pitch change rod bearing seized on a Model SA330 helicopter.

ECF has issued Eurocopter France Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) Nos. 05.81, Revision 2, and 05.00.29, Revision 3, both dated January 18, 2001, which specify modifying the operational and bearing check procedure for the change rod equipped with bearing, part number (P/N) 330A33-9903-20. The DGAC classified ASB No. 05.00.29, Revision 3, dated January 18, 2001, as mandatory and issued AD No. 1990-230-041(A) R4, dated February 21, 2001, to ensure the continued airworthiness of the ECF Model AS332 helicopters in France.

These helicopter models are manufactured in France and are type certificated for operation in the United States under the provisions of 14 CFR 21.29 and the applicable bilateral agreement. Pursuant to the applicable bilateral agreement, the DGAC has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of the DGAC, 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.

This unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of the same type designs registered in the United States. Therefore, the proposed AD would require the following inspections initially, repetitively, and before installing any tail rotor gearbox that has been previously installed on another helicopter and has not been inspected:

  • Inspect the tail rotor spider for end play. Remove the change rod bearing if the tail rotor spider is not within allowable tolerances.
  • Inspect each bearing for spalling, friction, grinding, damaged bearing sealing flanges, overheating at the bearing inner and outer races and the flanges, deposits of corrosion, and shearing or wear marks on the lockwasher, and remove any unairworthy bearing.
  • If a bearing is removed, before replacing the bearing, inspect the change rod for visible wear marks or scoring on the bearing journal circumference. If wear marks or circular scoring is found, repair or replace the bearing housing.

The actions would be required to be accomplished in accordance with the service bulletins described previously.

The FAA estimates that 3 helicopters of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 4 work hours to inspect and replace a bearing, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Required replacement parts would cost approximately $120. Based on these figures, the total cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $1080, assuming one bearing is replaced on each helicopter.

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:

Eurocopter France: Docket No. 2001-SW-35-AD.

Applicability: Model AS332C, AS332L, AS332L1, SA330F, SA330G, and SA330J helicopters with a tail rotor pitch change rod (rod) and a bearing, part number 330A33-9903-20, 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 (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: Within 20 hours time-in-service (TIS) or 1 month, whichever occurs first, or before installing any tail rotor gearbox previously installed on another helicopter and not inspected within the previous 250 hours TIS, unless accomplished previously, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 250 hours TIS or 18 months, whichever occurs first.

To prevent bearing wear, bearing seizure of the change rod, loss of tail rotor effectiveness and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter, accomplish the following:

(a) Inspect the axial end play of the tail rotor pitch change spider assembly in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 2.B.1. of Eurocopter France (ECF) Alert Service Bulletin No. 05.81, Revision 2, dated January 18, 2001 (ASB 330) for the ECF Model 330 helicopters or Eurocopter France Alert Service Bulletin No. 05.00.29, Revision 3, dated January 18, 2001 (ASB 332) for the Model 332 helicopters. If the axial end play is not within allowable tolerances, remove the rod bearing from service. Start Printed Page 47490

(b) Inspect each bearing for spalling, friction, grinding, damaged bearing sealing flanges, overheating at the bearing inner and outer races and the flanges, deposits of corrosion, and shearing or wear marks on the lockwasher in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 2.B.2., of ASB 330 or ASB332, as applicable. Remove from service any unairworthy bearing.

(c) If a bearing is removed from service, before replacing the bearing with an airworthy bearing:

(1) Inspect the change rod for visible wear marks or scoring on the bearing journal circumference. If marks or scoring is found, remove the change rod from service.

(2) Inspect the bearing housing for visible wear marks or circular scoring. If wear marks or circular scoring is found, repair or replace the bearing housing in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 2.B.3., of ASB 330 or ASB 332, as applicable.

(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 2:

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 will not be issued.

Note 3:

The subject of this AD is addressed in Direction Generale De L'Aviation Civile (France) AD No. 1990-230-041(A) R4, dated February 21, 2001.

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Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on July 5, 2002.

Larry M. Kelly,

Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 02-18196 Filed 7-18-02; 8:45 am]

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