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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Eurocopter France Model AS350B, BA, B1, B2, B3, D, and AS355E 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.

Start Preamble

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 (ECF) model helicopters. This proposal would require replacing the hydraulic fluid at a specified time interval when operating in cold weather. This proposal is prompted by reports of ice forming due to condensation in some parts of the hydraulic system during cold weather operation. The actions specified by this proposed AD are intended to prevent ice from forming in the hydraulic system resulting in an unintended movement of the flight controls and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before June 6, 2005.

ADDRESSES:

Use one of the following addresses to submit comments on this proposed AD:

  • DOT Docket Web site: Go to http://dms.dot.gov and follow the instructions for sending your comments electronically;
  • Government-wide rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for sending your comments electronically;
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL-401, Washington, DC 20590;
  • Fax: 202-493-2251; or
  • Hand Delivery: Room PL-401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

You may get the service information identified in this proposed AD from American Eurocopter Corporation, 2701 Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, Texas 75053-4005, telephone (972) 641-3460, fax (972) 641-3527.

You may examine the comments to this proposed AD in the AD docket on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ed Cuevas, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Safety Management Group, Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0111, telephone (817) 222-5355, fax (817) 222-5961.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

We invite you to submit any written data, views, or arguments regarding this proposed AD. Send your comments to the address listed under the caption ADDRESSES. Include the docket number “FAA-2005-20863, Directorate Identifier 2004-SW-36-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of the proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend the proposed AD in light of those comments.

We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://dms.dot.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Using the search function of our docket Web site, you can find and read the comments to any of our Start Printed Page 17622dockets, including the name of the individual who sent or signed the comment. You may review the DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78) or you may visit http://dms.dot.gov.

Examining the Docket

You may examine the docket that contains the proposed AD, any comments, and other information in person at the Docket Management System (DMS) Docket Office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Office (telephone 1-800-647-5227) is located at the plaza level of the Department of Transportation NASSIF Building in Room PL-401 at 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, DC. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after the DMS receives them.

Discussion

The Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), the airworthiness authority for France, notified the FAA that an unsafe condition may exist on the specified ECF Model AS350 and AS355 helicopters. The DGAC advises of the formation of ice in some parts of the hydraulic system during flights in cold weather and when the hydraulic fluid is highly contaminated by water.

ECF has issued Alert Service Bulletin Nos. 05.00.43 and 05.00.45, both dated April 8, 2004, which specify provisions for replacing hydraulic fluid in cold weather. The DGAC classified these service bulletins as mandatory and issued AD Nos. F-2004-055 and F-2004-056, both dated April 28, 2004, 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 us informed of the situation described above. We have 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.

The previously described 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, if the outside air temperature in an FAA weather briefing is forecast to be below negative 15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) at or below your planned flight altitude and the hydraulic fluid has not been replaced within the past 100 hours time-in-service or within the past 30 days, whichever occurred first, before further flight, replace the hydraulic fluid. The actions would be required to be accomplished following the service bulletins described previously.

We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 556 helicopters of U.S. registry, and the proposed actions would take about:

  • 2 work hours to replace the hydraulic fluid per helicopter at an average labor rate of $65 per work hour; and
  • $6 for hydraulic fluid each time it is changed.

Based on these figures, we estimate the total cost impact of the proposed AD to be $75,616, assuming two fluid replacements per year for 50 percent of the helicopter fleet.

Regulatory Findings

We have determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. Additionally, this proposed AD 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.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that the 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. 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.

We prepared a draft economic evaluation of the estimated costs to comply with this proposed AD. See the DMS to examine the draft economic evaluation.

Authority for This Rulemaking

Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, Section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.

We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701, “General requirements.” Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

Start List of Subjects

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. FAA-2005-20863; Directorate Identifier 2004-SW-36-AD.

Applicability: Model AS350B, BA, B1, B2, B3, D and AS355E helicopters, certificated in any category.

Compliance: Required as indicated.

To prevent ice from forming in the hydraulic system resulting in an unintended movement of the flight controls and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter, do the following:

(a) If the outside air temperature in an FAA weather briefing is forecast to be below negative 15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) at or below your planned flight altitude and the hydraulic fluid has not been replaced within the past 100 hours time-in-service or within the past 30 days, whichever occurred first, before further flight, replace the hydraulic fluid. Replace the hydraulic fluid by following the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraphs 2.A. and 2.B., of Eurocopter Alert Service Bulletin Nos. 05.00.43 or 05.00.45, both dated April 8, 2004, 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.

(c) Special flight permits will not be issued.

Note:

The subject of this AD is addressed in Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile (France) AD Nos. F-2004-055 and F-2004-056, both dated April 28, 2004.

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Start Printed Page 17623

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 31, 2005.

David A. Downey,

Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 05-6917 Filed 4-6-05; 8:45 am]

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