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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Eurocopter France Model AS332C, C1, L, L1, AS350B, BA, B1, B2, B3 and D, and AS355E, F, F1, F2 and N Helicopters

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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 the specified Eurocopter France (Eurocopter) model helicopters that have a Breeze 300-pound electric hoist (hoist) installed. This proposal would require modifying and re-identifying the hoist operator control unit and replacing certain fuses. This proposal is prompted by a test of a hoist that revealed an anomaly in the electrical control circuit. The actions specified by this proposed AD are intended to prevent failure of the hoist pyrotechnic squib electrical control unit, lack of adequate current to activate the hoist pyrotechnic squib, an inability of the pilot to cut the rescue hoist cable in the event of cable entanglement or other emergency, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before October 21, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of the Start Printed Page 50732Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2003-SW-15-AD, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Forth 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:

Carroll Wright, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Regulations and Guidance Group, Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0111, telephone (817) 222-5120, 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. 2003-SW-15-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 AS332C, C1, L, L1, Model AS350B, BA, BB, B1, B2, B3 and D, and Model AS355E, F, F1, F2 and N helicopters. The DGAC advises of the discovery of a case of failure of a rescue hoist emergency release control system to operate due to an anomaly in the electrical control circuit.

Eurocopter has issued Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. 25.00.71, for Model AS355E, F, F1, F2, and N helicopters; and ASB No. 25.00.79, for Model AS350B, BA, BB, B1, B2, B3, and D helicopters. Both ASBs are dated November 12, 2002, and specify embodiment of MOD 07 3190 on helicopters equipped with the fixed parts for the hoist. MOD 07 3190 consists of (1) eliminating resistor 27M in the hoist operator's control unit 26M and (2) replacing the 25A quick-response fuses on the Honeywell unit at 31 alpha or 21 delta for the Model AS350 or on the distribution panel 10 alpha for the Model 355 helicopters. Eurocopter has also issued alert Service Bulleting No. 25.01.18, dated November 12, 2002, for Model AS332C, C1, L, and L1 helicopters. Modification 332PCS 78 288 consists of eliminating resistor 81M in hoist box 91M and re-identifying the hoist box as 332P67-2894-01, -02, -03, or -04, depending on which electrical wiring assembly is installed in the helicopter. The DGAC has classified these ASBs as mandatory and issued AD 2002-585(A) and AD 2002-584(A), both dated November 27, 2002, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these helicopters in France.

This AD would require correction of an anomaly between the Eurocopter hoist control box electrical circuits and the Breeze 300 lb. hoist. The Eurocopter hoist control box supplies 2 amperes to the hoist pyrotechnic squib, however the Breeze 300 lb. hoist requires 10 amperes to activate the pyrotechnic squib. The TRW (LUCAS and Air Equipment) hoists require only 1 ampere to activate their pyrotechnic squibs. Therefore, this AD would not apply to the TRW (LUCAS and Air Equipment) hoist installations even though DGAC AD 2002-585(A) applied to these hoists.

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 previously described unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of these same type designs registered in the United States. Therefore, the proposed AD would require, within 100 hours time-in-service (TIS) or 2 months, whichever comes first, modifying and re-identifying the hoist operator control unit and replacing certain fuses. The actions would be required to be accomplished in accordance with the ASBs described previously.

On July 10, 2002, the FAA issued a new version of 14 CFR part 39 (67 FR 47997, July 22, 2002), which governs the FAA's AD system. The regulation now includes material that relates to altered products, special flight permits, and alternative methods of compliance. Because we have now included this material in part 39, we no longer need to include it in each individual AD.

The FAA estimates that this proposed AD would affect 58 helicopters of U.S. registry (50 Model AS350 helicopters and 8 Model AS355 helicopters, and no Model AS332 helicopters) and the proposed actions would take approximately 3.5 work hours per helicopter to accomplish at an average labor rate of $60 per work hour. Required parts would cost approximately $10 for a time-delay fuse for Model AS350 series helicopters, or $20 for two time-delay fuses for Model AS355 series helicopters. Based on these figures, we estimate the total cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators would be $12,840 to modify each hoist 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 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. 2003-SW-15-AD.

Applicability: Model AS332C, C1, L, and L1, AS350B, BA, B1, B2, B3 and D, and AS355E, F, F1, F2 and N helicopters with a Breeze 300-pound electric hoist (hoist) and hoist operator control unit 26M, part number (P/N) 350A63-1136-00 or 350A63-1136-01, and hoist electric box 91M, P/N 332A67-2875-00, installed, certificated in any category.

Compliance: Required within 100 hours time-in-service or within 2 months, whichever occurs first, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent failure of the hoist pyrotechnic squib electrical control unit, lack of adequate current to activate the hoist pyrotechnic squib, an inability of the pilot to cut the rescue hoist cable in the event of cable entanglement or other emergency, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter, accomplish the following:

(a) Modify and re-identify the hoist operator control unit; replace the fuses; and functionally test the hoist operation and the emergency jettison controls in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 2B, Operational Procedure, of Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. 25.00.71 for Model AS355E, F, F1, F2, and N helicopters; ASB No. 25.00.79 for Model AS350B, BA. B1, B2, B3, and D helicopters; and ASB No. 25.01.18 for Model AS332 C, C1, L, and L1 helicopters, all dated November 12, 2002, as applicable.

(b) To request a different method of compliance or a different compliance time for this AD, follow the procedures in 14 CFR 39.19. Contact the Safety Management Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, for information about previously approved alternative methods of compliance.

Note:

The subject of this AD is addressed in Direction Generale De L'Aviation Civile (France) AD 2002-584(A) and AD 2002-585(A), both dated November 27, 2002.

Start Signature

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on August 8, 2003.

David A. Downey,

Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-21522 Filed 8-21-03; 8:45 am]

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