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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Eurocopter France Model SA-365N, N1, AS-365N2, AS 365 N3, SA-366G1, AS355F, F1, F2, N, and EC130 B4 Helicopters

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

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ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

This document proposes adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Eurocopter France (Eurocopter) Model SA-365N, N1, AS-365N2, AS 365 N3, SA-366G1, AS355 F, F1, F2, N, and EC130 B4 helicopters with certain TRW-SAMM main servocontrols (servocontrols) installed. This proposal would require removing the servocontrol and replacing it with a servocontrol that does not fall within the “Applicability” of this AD at specified intervals. This proposal is prompted by the discovery of an incorrect tightening torque load found on servocontrols that were overhauled by Hawker Pacific Aerospace. The actions specified by this proposed AD are intended to prevent thread failure, separation of the upper end fitting that attaches the servocontrol cylinder to the upper ball end-fitting, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before April 15, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2002-SW-49-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-49-AD.” The postcard will be date stamped and returned to the commenter.

Discussion

The Direction Generale De L'Aviation Civile (DGAC), the airworthiness authority for France, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on Eurocopter Model AS 365 N, EC 130, AS 355, and SA 366 helicopters. The DGAC advises of a report of incorrect tightening torque load found in service on servocontrols that were overhauled by Hawker Pacific Aerospace.

Eurocopter has issued the following alert telexes, all dated April 29, 2002, which specify removing the servocontrols and returning them to the Hawker Pacific Aerospace:

  • Alert Telex No. 67.00.08 for Model AS-365N, N1, N2, and N3 helicopters;
  • Alert Telex No. 67.03 for Model AS-366G1 helicopters;
  • Alert Telex No. 67.00.23 for Model AS355F, F1, F2, and N helicopters;
  • Alert Telex No. 67A001 for Model EC130 B4 helicopters.

The DGAC classified these alert telexes as mandatory and issued AD No's. 2002-312-056(A), 2002-313-027(A), 2002-315-069(A), and 2002-316-004(A), all dated June 12, 2002, 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 these type designs that are certificated for operation in the United States.

Incorrect torquing of the critical end fitting on the main servocontrol creates an unsafe condition. 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 removing the servocontrols, part number SC8031, SC8031A, SC8031-1, SC8031-2, SC8032-1, SC8032-2, SC8033-1, SC8033-2, SC8034-1, SC8034-2, SC8042, or SC8043, that were overhauled or repaired at Hawker Pacific Aerospace before March 1, 2002, and replacing them with servocontrols that do not fall within the “Applicability” of this AD at specified intervals.

The FAA estimates that 252 helicopters of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 8 work hours per helicopter to accomplish the proposed actions, and that the average labor rate is $60 per work hour. Required parts would cost approximately $6,853, but the manufacturer has stated in the service information that it will rework the servocontrols at no cost to the owner/operator. Based on these figures, the total cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $1,847,916, assuming no costs are covered by the manufacturer's warranty.

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 Start Printed Page 7453Administration 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. 2002-SW-49-AD.

Applicability: Model SA-365N, N1, AS-365N2, N3, SA-366 G1, AS355F, F1, F2, N and EC130 B4 helicopters, with TRW-SAMM main servocontrols, part number SC8031, SC8031A, SC8031-1, SC8031-2, SC8032-1, SC8032-2, SC8033-1, SC8033-2, SC8034-1, SC8034-2, SC8042 or SC8043, overhauled or repaired at Hawker Pacific Aerospace before March 1, 2002, 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 as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent thread failure, separation of the upper end-fitting that attaches the servocontrol cylinder to the upper ball end-fitting, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter, accomplish the following:

(a) Replace each servocontrol with a servocontrol that does not fall within the “Applicability” of this AD in accordance with the following table:

For servocontrols that have been in service for:Replace the servocontrols:
(1) Less than 1,000 hours time-in-service (TIS)Within the next 550 hours TIS or 12 months, whichever occurs first.
(2) 1,000 or more hours TIS, and less than 1,300 hours TISBefore the servocontrols reach 1,550 hours TIS or within 9 months, whichever occurs first.
(3) 1,300 or more hours TISWithin the next 250 hours TIS or 6 months, whichever occurs first.

Note 2:

Eurocopter Alert Telex No. 67.00.08 for Model AS 365 N, N1, N2, and N3 helicopters; Alert Telex No. 67.03 for Model AS 366 G1 helicopters; Alert Telex No. 67.00.23 for Model AS 355 F, F1, F2, and N helicopters; and Alert Telex No. 67A001 for Model EC 130 B4 helicopters, all dated April 29, 2002, pertain to the subject 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.

Note 3:

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 4:

The subject of this AD is addressed in Direction De L'Aviation Civile (France) AD No's. 2002-312-056(A), 2002-313-027(A), 2002-315-069(A), and 2002-316-004(A), all dated June 12, 2002.

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Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on January 30, 2003.

David A. Downey,

Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-3774 Filed 2-13-03; 8:45 am]

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