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Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Model 206A, B, L, L-1, L-3, and L-4 Helicopters

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD) for the specified Bell Helicopter Textron Canada (BHTC) model helicopters. This action requires an initial inspection and, at specified intervals, certain repetitive checks and inspections of the tail rotor blade (blade) for a deformation, a crack, and a bent or deformed tail rotor weight (weight). Also, this action requires, before further flight, replacing each blade with an airworthy blade if a deformation, a crack, or a bent or deformed weight is found. This amendment is prompted by three reports of skin cracks originating near the blade trailing edge balance weight. This condition, if not detected, could result in blade failure and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES:

Effective December 16, 2004.

Comments for inclusion in the Rules Docket must be received on or before January 31, 2005.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments in triplicate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, Attention: Rules Docket No. 2004-SW-12-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.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sharon Miles, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Regulations and Guidance Group, Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0111, telephone (817) 222-5122, fax (817) 222-5961.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This amendment adopts a new AD for the specified BHTC model helicopters. This action requires an initial inspection and certain repetitive checks and inspections of the blade, at specified intervals, for a deformation, a crack, and a bent or deformed weight. Also, this action requires, before further flight, replacing each blade with an airworthy blade if a deformation, a crack, or a bent or deformed weight is found. This amendment is prompted by three reports of skin cracks originating near the blade trailing edge balance weight. In two reports, a loss of the weight and a strip of material along the trailing edge led to an imbalance and fracture of three of the four tail rotor gearbox attachment bolts. In one of these incidents the gearbox shifted resulting in failure of the drive shaft and loss of yaw control. This condition, if not detected, could result in blade failure and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

BHTC has issued Alert Service Bulletin No. 206-04-100 for Model 206A and B and No. 206L-04-127 for Model 206L series helicopters, both Revision B, both dated May 28, 2004. These service bulletins specify checking and inspecting the blades for a deformation, a crack, and a bent or deformed weight and a one-time inspection by Rotor Blades Inc. in Louisiana, USA, and if the blades pass the one-time inspection, adding a “V” at the end of the serial number. The service bulletins also specify replacing any blade with a deformation, a crack, or bent or deformed weight.

Transport Canada, the airworthiness authority for Canada, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on these helicopter models. Transport Canada advises of three reports of skin cracks originating near the blade trailing edge balance weight. Two of the occurrences caused a loss of the weight and a strip of material along the trailing edge leading to an imbalance, which caused the fracture of three of the four tail rotor gearbox attachments. One of these occurrences resulted in the gearbox shifting that caused failure of the drive shaft and resulting loss of yaw control. Transport Canada classified the alert service bulletins as mandatory and issued AD No. CF-2004-05R1, dated June 28, 2004, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these helicopters in Canada.

These helicopter models are manufactured in Canada 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, 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 these type designs 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 designs registered in the United States. Therefore, the FAA is issuing this AD to detect a blade with a deformation, a crack, or a bent or deformed weight and to prevent blade failure and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. This AD requires the following for the specified BHTC helicopters with certain blade part numbers and serial numbers:

  • Before further flight, unless accomplished previously, and before installing any blade with an affected part number and serial number, cleaning the blade. Then, using a 10X or higher magnifying glass, inspecting both sides of each blade for a deformation, a crack, and a bent or deformed weight.
  • Thereafter, cleaning both sides of each blade and using a 10X or higher magnifying glass, inspecting for a deformation, a crack, and a bent or deformed weight as follows:

○ At intervals not to exceed 12 hours time-in-service (TIS), or

○ At intervals not to exceed 24 hours TIS and checking both sides of each blade for a deformation, a crack, and a bent or deformed weight at intervals not to exceed 3 hours TIS between inspections. An owner/operator (pilot) may perform the 3-hour TIS check for deformed or cracked blades and for bent or deformed weights. Pilots may perform these checks because they require no tools, can be done by observation, and can be done equally well by a pilot or a mechanic. However, the pilot must enter compliance with these requirements into the helicopter maintenance records by following 14 CFR 43.11 and 91.417(a)(2)(v).

  • Before further flight, replacing each blade with an airworthy blade if you find a deformation, a crack, or a bent or deformed weight.

The short compliance time involved is required because the previously described critical unsafe condition can adversely affect the controllability and structural integrity of the helicopter. Therefore, inspecting the blade, for a deformation, a crack, and a bent or deformed weight is required before further flight and at short specified time intervals, and this AD must be issued immediately.

Since a situation exists that requires the immediate adoption of this regulation, it is found that notice and opportunity for prior public comment hereon are impracticable, and that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.

The FAA estimates that this AD will:

  • Affect 2194 helicopters.Start Printed Page 69811
  • Take about 1/4 work hour for a blade check or inspection and 3 work hours to replace one blade at an average labor rate of $65 per work hour.
  • Required parts will cost about $5,848 per helicopter. (The service bulletin states that warranty credit will be given based on hour usage on the blade with remaining life hours and other restrictions.) Based on these figures, the total estimated cost impact of the AD on U.S. operators is $21,315,807, assuming 226 checks or inspections and replacing one blade on each helicopter in the fleet.

Comments Invited

Although this action is in the form of a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety and, thus, was not preceded by notice and an opportunity for public comment, comments are invited on this rule. Interested persons are invited to comment on this 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 under the caption ADDRESSES. All communications received on or before the closing date for comments will be considered, and this rule may be amended in light of the comments received. Factual information that supports the commenter's ideas and suggestions is extremely helpful in evaluating the effectiveness of the AD action and determining whether additional rulemaking action would be needed.

Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the rule that might suggest a need to modify the rule. All comments submitted will be available in the Rules Docket for examination by interested persons. A report that summarizes each FAA-public contact concerned with the substance of this AD will be filed in the Rules Docket.

Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their mailed comments submitted in response to this rule must submit a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket No. 2004-SW-12-AD.” The postcard will be date stamped and returned to the commenter.

The regulations adopted herein will 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 final rule does not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

The FAA has determined that this regulation is an emergency regulation that must be issued immediately to correct an unsafe condition in aircraft, and that it is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866. It has been determined further that this action involves an emergency regulation under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979). If it is determined that this emergency regulation otherwise would be significant under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures, a final economic evaluation will be prepared and placed in the Rules Docket. A copy of it, if filed, may be obtained from the Rules Docket at the location provided under the caption ADDRESSES.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

End List of Subjects

Adoption of the Amendment

Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the Federal Aviation Administration amends part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) as follows:

Start Part

PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

End Part Start Amendment Part

1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

End Authority
[Amended]
Start Amendment Part

2. Section 39.13 is amended by adding a new airworthiness directive to read as follows:

End Amendment Part

2004-24-08 Bell Helicopter Textron Canada: Amendment 39-13884. Docket No. 2004-SW-12-AD.

Applicability: Model 206A, B, L, L-1, L-3, and L-4 helicopters, with a tail rotor blade (blade) with the following part number (P/N) and serial number (S/N) installed, certificated in any category.

Model 206A & B; Blade, P/N 206-016-201-133, S/N with prefix “CS” and no “V” suffixModel 206A, B, L, L-1, L-3, & L-4, Blade, P/N 206-016-201-131, S/N with prefix “CS” and no “V” suffix
1381 through 14427000 through 701810174 through 10218.
1492 through 15177020 through 704310220.
1520 through 15427045 through 705010232.
15507052 through 713210235.
15567134 through 724610237 through 10241.
15607248 through 727010244.
15627272 through 727710245.
1564 through 15677279 through 733910248.
1569 through 16067342 through 736810250 through 10264.
1609778410266 through 10268.
1611778610270 through 10274.
1612778810276 through 10278.
1614 through 16317790 through 779610280 through 10282.
1633 through 16757798 through 781910284 through 10292.
16777821 through 783310296.
16787835 through 783910300 through 10330.
1680 through 16827841 through 800110332.
1684 through 17878003 through 802610333.
1789 through 18038029 through 806110335 through 10347.
1810 through 18128064 through 811710349.
1814811910351 through 10359.
18168121 through 813910363 through 10365.
Start Printed Page 69812
Model 206A & B; Blade, P/N 206-016-201-133, S/N with prefix “CS” and no “V” suffixModel 206A, B, L, L-1, L-3, & L-4, Blade, P/N 206-016-201-131, S/N with prefix “CS” and no “V” suffix
18208142 through 817610367.
1834 through 18368264 through 829410374.
18388298 through 836810377 through 10385.
1840 through 18448370 through 837510387 through 10408.
18468378 through 841610410.
1848 through 1882841910414 through 10417.
1884 through 1887842110419 through 10427.
1889 through 18938425 through 842810430.
1896 through 18988430 through 843810432.
1900844010437.
1904844110438.
1909 through 1912844310442 through 10445.
19158445 through 844710458 through 10466.
19168449 through 860610469.
1919 through 19218608 through 862210470.
19248624 through 862610474.
1928 through 19318628 through 863210476 through 10478.
19338635 through 865310480 through 10487.
1934 through 19398655 through 868610489 through 10491.
1943869010493 through 10495.
19458692 through 870010497 through 10503.
19478703 through 871510505 through 10588.
19488717 through 872210591 through 10606.
1952 through 19578724 through 874210608 through 10610.
19608745 through 882810612 through 10620.
1962 through 19658830 through 883510623.
8838 through 884010624.
8842 through 888110631 through 10655.
8883 through 903210657 through 10669.
9034 through 913910672.
9141 through 919810673.
920010676 through 10678.
9202 through 930210680 through 10683.
9304 through 933910685.
9341 through 937110687.
9373 through 941110689 through 10702.
941310707.
9415 through 941710712.
9419 through 949610715.
9498 through 958510730.
9587 through 959410732 through 10734.
9596 through 961810736.
9621 through 962910738.
9632 through 964210739.
9645 through 965110746.
9653 through 967310750.
9675 through 970710756.
9709 through 972410760.
9727 through 973110761.
9733 through 973510765.
9737 through 973910770.
9741 through 974810774 through 10776.
9751 through 978510778.
978710781.
978810783 through 10785.
9790 through 979210792.
9795 through 984710794.
9849 through 992810798.
9930 through 993710799.
9940 through 994210806 through 10808.
9944 through 995210811.
9955 through 997210814 through 10822.
9974 through 998910824.
9991 through 999510825.
9997 through 1000410829.
10006 through 1000910831.
1001110917.
Start Printed Page 69813
Model 206A & B; Blade, P/N 206-016-201-133, S/N with prefix “CS” and no “V” suffixModel 206A, B, L, L-1, L-3, & L-4, Blade, P/N 206-016-201-131, S/N with prefix “CS” and no “V” suffix
10013 through 1001810923.
10021 through 1003010931.
1003410936.
10036 through 1005710937.
10061 through 1008210940.
10090 through 1009210943.
10094 through 1010010945.
1011610947.
1011910948.
1012110964.
10123 through 1013410965.
10136 through 1014010973.
10142 through 1014410982.
10146 through 1017210985.
10986.

Compliance: Required as indicated.

To prevent blade failure and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter, do the following:

(a) Before further flight, unless accomplished previously, and before installing any blade with a P/N and S/N listed in the applicability section of this AD, clean the blade. Using a 10X or higher magnifying glass, inspect both sides of each blade for a deformation, a crack, and a bent or deformed weight in the area shown in Figure 1 of this AD.

Note 1:

Paint irregularities on the blade may indicate a crack.

Start Printed Page 69814

(b) After doing paragraph (a) of this AD, at the following intervals, clean both sides of each blade and do either paragraph (1) or (2) as follows:

(1) At intervals not to exceed 12 hours time-in-service (TIS), using a 10X or higher magnifying glass, inspect both sides of each blade for a deformation, a crack, and a bent or deformed weight in the area shown in Figure 1 of this AD, or

(2) Inspect and check both sides of each blade for a deformation, a crack, and a bent or deformed weight in the area shown in Figure 1 of this AD as follows:

(i) Using a 10X or higher magnifying glass, inspect at intervals not to exceed 24 hours TIS, and

(ii) Check at intervals not to exceed 3 hours TIS between the inspections required by paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this AD. An owner/operator (pilot), holding at least a private pilot certificate, may perform this visual check and must enter compliance with this paragraph into the helicopter maintenance records by following 14 CFR sections 43.11 and 91.417(a)(2)(v).

(c) Before further flight, replace any blade that has a deformation, a crack, or a bent or deformed weight with an airworthy blade.

Note 2:

Bell Helicopter Textron Alert Service Bulletin No. 206-04-100 for Model 206A and B and No. 206L-04-127 for Model 206L series, both Revision B, both dated May 28, 2004, pertain to the subject of this AD.

(d) 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.

(e) This amendment becomes effective on December 16, 2004.

Note 3:

The subject of this AD is addressed in Transport Canada (Canada) AD No. CF-2004-05R1, dated June 28, 2004.

Start Signature

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on November 22, 2004.

Kim Smith,

Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 04-26425 Filed 11-30-04; 8:45 am]

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