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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Eurocopter France Model EC 155B Helicopters

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.


Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).


This document proposes adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Eurocopter France (ECF) Model EC 155B helicopters. This proposal would require inspecting and adjusting, if necessary, the position of the locking pins on each pilot, co-pilot, and passenger-hinged and sliding door (door) initially and each time a door is replaced. This proposal is prompted by two reports of inadvertent opening of the passenger-hinged doors in flight due to improper adjustment of the door-locking mechanism. The actions specified by this proposed AD are intended to prevent loss of a door in flight, contact with the main rotor or tail rotor, and subsequent loss of helicopter control.


Comments must be received on or before October 15, 2002.


Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2002-SW-26-AD, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137. You may also send comments electronically to the Rules Docket at the following address: 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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Richard Monschke, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Rotorcraft Standards Staff, Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0110, telephone (817) 222-5116, fax (817) 222-5961.

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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 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 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. 2002-SW-26-AD.” The postcard will be date stamped and returned to the commenter.


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 EC 155B helicopters. The DGAC advises of two reports of the passenger-hinged doors opening in flight. The investigation revealed noncompliant installation and adjustment of the door-locking mechanism, which can result in the door unlocking and a risk of losing the door in flight.

ECF has issued Alert Telex 52-A008, dated March 11, 2002, which specifies checking and adjusting the position of each door's locking pins to prevent the door opening in flight. The DGAC classified this service bulletin as mandatory and issued AD No. 2002-186-005(A), dated April 3, 2002, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these helicopters in France.

This helicopter model is manufactured in France and is 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 this type design 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 design registered in the United States. Therefore, the proposed AD would require inspecting and, if necessary, adjusting the door-locking mechanism initially and each time a door is replaced. Replacing a door is not expected during the life of the rotorcraft except in extremely rare instances where a door may be damaged from an outside source. The actions would be required to be accomplished in accordance with the service bulletin Start Printed Page 52899described previously except compliance with the caution and reporting requirements are not mandatory. In addition, the FAA considers shimming by the addition of washers as a permanent repair.

The FAA estimates that 2 helicopters of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 4 work hours per helicopter to accomplish the proposed actions, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Based on these figures, the total cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $480.

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

  • Air transportation
  • Aircraft
  • Aviation safety
  • Safety
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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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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:

Eurocopter France: Docket No. 2002-SW-26-AD.

Applicability: Model EC 155B 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 (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 25 hours time-in-service, unless accomplished previously, and each time a pilot, co-pilot, or passenger hinged or sliding (door) is replaced.

To prevent loss of a door in flight and subsequent loss of helicopter control, accomplish the following:

(a) Inspect and adjust, if necessary, the position of each door's locking pins in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 2., of Eurocopter France Alert Telex No. 52-A008, dated March 11, 2002 (Telex), except you are not required to comply with the caution and with the reporting requirements of the Telex, and you may consider shimming by washers a permanent repair.

(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 2:

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 14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199 to operate the helicopter to a location where the requirements of this AD can be accomplished.

Note 3:

The subject of this AD is addressed in Direction Generale De L'Aviation Civile (France) AD 2002-186-005(A), dated April 3, 2002.

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

David A. Downey,

Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 02-20517 Filed 8-13-02; 8:45 am]