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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited Model 427 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 Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited (Bell) Model 427 helicopters. This proposal would require replacing the hydraulic solenoid tee fitting (tee fitting) and tubes. This proposal is prompted by the manufacturer's discovery that tee fittings may be installed improperly and restrict hydraulic fluid flow. The actions specified by this proposed AD are intended to prevent restricted flow of hydraulic fluid to the flight control hydraulic actuators resulting in loss of hydraulic control, excessive stiffness in the flight controls, and a subsequent forced landing of the helicopter.

DATES:

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

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2002-SW-19-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:

Uday Garadi, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Rotorcraft Standards Staff, Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0110, telephone (817) 222-5123, 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 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-19-AD.” The postcard will be date stamped and returned to the commenter.

Discussion

Transport Canada, the airworthiness authority for Canada, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on Bell Model 427 helicopters. Transport Canada advises that there is a possibility of installing the existing tee fitting in such a way that the hydraulic fluid flow will be significantly restricted. To preclude this possibility, Bell has designed a new tee fitting installation.

Bell has issued Bell Helicopter Textron Alert Service Bulletin No. 427-01-02, dated August 20, 2001, which specifies replacing the tee fitting. Transport Canada classified this alert service bulletin as mandatory and issued AD No. CF-2002-11, dated January 31, 2002, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these helicopters in Canada.

This helicopter model is manufactured in Canada 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, Transport Canada has kept the FAA informed of the situation described above. The FAA has examined the findings of Transport Canada, 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 replacing certain tee fitting and tubes with an improved-designed tee fitting and tubes. The actions would be required to be accomplished in accordance with the service bulletin described previously.

The FAA estimates that 31 helicopters of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 1 work hour per helicopter to replace the tee fitting and tubes, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Required parts would cost approximately $527 per helicopter. Based on these figures, the total cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $18,197 to replace the tee fitting and tubes in the entire fleet.

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 Start Printed Page 64326would 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:

Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited: Docket No. 2002-SW-19-AD.

Applicability: Model 427 helicopters, serial numbers 56001 through 56031, with hydraulic solenoid tee fitting, part number (P/N) AS1003W060404, 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 at the next hydraulic filter and fluid replacement or within 30 days, whichever occurs first, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent restricted flow of hydraulic fluid to the flight control hydraulic actuators resulting in loss of hydraulic control, excessive stiffness in the flight controls, and a subsequent forced landing of the helicopter, accomplish the following:

(a) Replace the hydraulic solenoid tee fitting (tee fitting), P/N AS1003W060404, and tubes, P/Ns 427-080-058-101 and 427-080-003-101, with union, P/N AS5230W0606, tee fitting, P/N NAS1763W060404, and tubes, P/Ns 427-080-069-101 and 427-080-068-101, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions in Bell Helicopter Textron Alert Service Bulletin No. 427-01-02, dated August 20, 2001.

(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 Transport Canada (Canada) AD CF-2002-11, dated January 31, 2002.

Start Signature

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on October 10, 2002.

Mark R. Schilling,

Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 02-26592 Filed 10-17-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P