Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.
Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking; reopening of comment period.
This document revises an earlier proposed airworthiness directive (AD) for Eurocopter France (Eurocopter) Model SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2, AS 365 N3, SA-366G1 helicopters that would have required inspecting the 9-degree frame flange (frame) for the correct edge distance of the four attachment holes for the stretcher support and for a crack, and repairing the frame, if necessary. That proposal was prompted by a quality control check that revealed some stretcher attachment holes were improperly located on the frame where there was insufficient edge distance. This action revises the proposed rule by requiring the same actions as the previous proposal, but adds recurring inspections and refers to an engineering report that lists approved U.S. alternative fasteners and materials that may be used in any required repairs. The actions specified by this proposed AD are intended to prevent failure of the frame due to a crack at the stretcher support attachment holes, 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 May 10, 2004.
Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2001-SW-33-AD, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137. You may also send comments electronically to Start Printed Page 11557the 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.
The service information referenced in the proposed rule may be obtained from American Eurocopter Corporation, 2701 Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, Texas 75053-4005, telephone (972) 641-3460, fax (972) 641-3527. This information may be examined at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Gary Roach, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Regulations and Guidance Group, Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0111, telephone (817) 222-5130, 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-33-AD.” The postcard will be date stamped and returned to the commenter.
A proposal to amend part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) to add an AD for Eurocopter Model SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2, AS 365 N3, SA-366G1 helicopters was published in the Federal Register on December 18, 2002 (67 FR 77444). That proposal would have required, within 50 hours time-in-service (TIS), inspecting the frame for the correct edge distance of the four attachment holes of the stretcher support and for a crack, and repairing the frame, if necessary. The repair was to be approved by the Manager, Regulations Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA. That NPRM was prompted by a quality control check that revealed some stretcher attachment holes were improperly located on the frame where there was insufficient edge distance. That condition, if not corrected, could result in failure of the frame due to a crack at the stretcher support attachment holes, loss of a passenger door, damage to the rotor system, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
Since the issuance of that NPRM, we have decided to allow the use of U.S.-available alternative fasteners and materials. Therefore, we determined that this proposal should reference an Addendum to Eurocopter France AS 365 Alert Service Bulletin 53.00.43, dated January 31, 2001, that provides for use of U.S.-available alternative fasteners and materials. Additionally, we have determined that it is unnecessary to require installation of a reinforcing angle, and it has been replaced with a 550-hour repetitive inspection for those helicopters that have an edge distance on the frame of less than 5mm, are not cracked, and have not been repaired.
Since this change expands the scope of the originally proposed rule, we have determined that it is necessary to reopen the comment period to provide additional opportunity for public comment.
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 45 helicopters of U.S. registry would be affected by this proposed AD, that it would take approximately 2 work hours to visually inspect each helicopter and 10 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 $65 per work hour. Required parts would cost approximately $200 per helicopter for the repair of the 15 helicopters. Based on these figures, the total cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators is estimated to be $19,250, assuming each operator repairs the helicopter rather than performs the repetitive inspection.
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-33-AD.
Applicability: Model SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2, AS 365 N3, and SA-366G1 helicopters, certificated in any category.
Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.
To prevent failure of the 9-degree frame flange (frame) due to a crack at the stretcher support attachment holes, loss of a passenger Start Printed Page 11558door, damage to the rotor system, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter, accomplish the following:
(a) Within 50 hours time-in-service (TIS), measure the edge distance of each 9-degree frame at the four attachment holes of the stretcher support at Z2321 as shown in detail “A” of Figure 1 in Eurocopter France AS 365 Alert Service Bulletin 53.00.43, dated January 31, 2001, for the Models SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2, and AS 365 N3 (365 ASB) or Eurocopter France AS 366 Alert Service Bulletin 53.06, dated June 1, 2001, for the Model SA366G-1 (366 ASB) helicopters. Inspect the area around the attachment holes for a crack.
(1) If the edge distance of all attachment holes is equal to or more than 5 mm (0.197 inch) and no crack is present, no further action is required by this AD.
(2) If the edge distance is less than 5 mm and no crack is present, reinspect the area at intervals not to exceed 550 hours TIS and modify the frame no later than the next 500 hour inspection in accordance with paragraph 2.B.2. of the 365 ASB or 366 ASB, as appropriate.
(3) If the frame is cracked, before further flight, repair the frame. Acceptable U.S. alternatives to the fasteners and materials needed to perform repairs or modifications are listed in American Eurocopter Engineering Report No. AEC/03R-E-005, “Addendum ASB 53.00.42 and 53.00.43 AS365”, dated January 29, 2003.
(4) Modifying or repairing the frame constitutes terminating action for the requirements of this AD, which is attached to the 365 ASB.
(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.
The subject of this AD is addressed in Direction Generale De L'Aviation Civile (France) AD No. 2001-283-025(A), dated July 11, 2001, for Model SA366 helicopters, and AD No. 2001-061-053(A), dated February 21, 2001, for Model AS 365N, N1, N2, and N3 helicopters.
Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 4, 2004.
Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 04-5521 Filed 3-10-04; 8:45 am]
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