Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.
Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
This document proposes adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Eurocopter France (ECF) Model SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2, and AS 365 N3 helicopters. This proposal would require inspecting the 9-degree frame (frame) for the correct edge distance of the two attachment holes for the reinforced latch support and for a crack and repairing the frame if necessary. This proposal is prompted by the detection of a fatigue crack on the left-hand (LH) side of the frame during maintenance. The actions specified by this proposed AD are intended to prevent failure of the frame due to a crack at the latch support, loss of a passenger door, damage to the rotor system, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
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. 2001-SW-34-AD, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137. You may also send comments electronically to the Rules Docket at the following address: email@example.com. 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.Start Further Info Start Printed Page 52897
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.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
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, specified above, 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. 2001-SW-34-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-34-AD, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137.
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 SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2, and AS 365 N3 helicopters incorporating MOD 0753B31. The DGAC advises of the discovery of a crack on the left-hand side of the frame.
ECF has issued AS 365 Alert Service Bulletin No. 53.00.42, dated January 31, 2001, which specifies measuring the edge distance of the attachment holes for the reinforced latch support of the frame, inspecting for a crack, and installing a repair on the frame or stop-drilling the crack, and monitoring the crack for continued growth. The DGAC classified this service bulletin as mandatory and issued AD No. 2001-060-052(A), dated February 21, 2001, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these 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 this type design that are certificated for operation in the United States.
This unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other ECF model helicopters of the same type design registered in the United States. Therefore, the proposed AD would require, within 50 hours time-in-service, inspecting the frame at the two attachment holes for the latch support for the correct edge distance and for a crack and repairing the frame if necessary. The actions would be required to be accomplished in accordance with the service bulletin described previously.
The FAA estimates that 45 helicopters of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 3 work hours to visually inspect all helicopters and 8 work hours to repair an estimated 10 helicopters to correct edge distance only and 12 work hours to repair edge distance and cracks for an estimated 5 helicopters, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Required parts would cost approximately $200 assuming a repair is necessary for 15 helicopters. Based on these figures, the total cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $19,500.
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.Start List of Subjects
List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39End List of Subjects
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:Start Part
PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES
1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:
2. Section 39.13 is amended by adding a new airworthiness directive to read as follows:
Eurocopter France: Docket No. 2001-SW-34-AD.
Applicability: Model SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2, and AS 365 N3 helicopters, with MOD 0753B31 installed, certificated in any category.
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 failure of the frame due to a crack at the latch support, loss of a passenger door, damage to the rotor system, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter, accomplish the following:
(a) Within 50 hours time-in-service, inspect each 9-degree frame (frame) by measuring the edge distance at the two 5.2 mm (0.205 inch) Start Printed Page 52898diameter attachment holes for the latch support for the passenger door in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 2.B.1., of Eurocopter France AS 365 Alert Service Bulletin 53.00.42, dated January 31, 2001 (ASB). Inspect the area around the attachment holes for a crack.
(1) If the edge distance of both attachment holes is equal to or more than 8 mm (0.315 inch) and no crack is present, no action is required by this AD.
(2) If the edge distance is less than 8 mm and no crack is present, before further flight, install a reinforcing plate in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions paragraph 2.B.2. of the ASB. Accomplishing the requirements of paragraph 2.B.2. of the ASB constitutes terminating action for the requirements of this AD.
(3) If there is a crack, before further flight, stop-drill the crack with a 3-millimeter diameter hole and repair the frame in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 2.B.3 of the ASB. Accomplishing the requirements of paragraph 2.B.3. of the ASB constitutes terminating action for the requirements of this AD.
(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.
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.
The subject of this AD is addressed in Direction Generale De L'Aviation Civile (France) AD No. 2001-060-052(A), dated February 21, 2001.
Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on August 5, 2002.
David A. Downey,
Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 02-20518 Filed 8-13-02; 8:45 am]
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