Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.
Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
This document proposes superseding an existing airworthiness directive (AD) for the specified Bell Helicopter Textron Canada (BHTC) model helicopters. That AD currently requires an initial inspection and at specified intervals checks and inspections of the tail rotor blade (blade) for a deformation, a crack, and a bent or deformed tail rotor weight (weight). Also, that AD 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 action would contain the same actions as the existing AD and would also propose adding certain serial-numbered blades to the applicability that were inadvertently omitted from the current AD and would require replacing each affected blade, which would be terminating action. This proposal is prompted by three reports of skin cracks originating near the blade trailing edge balance weight. The actions specified by the proposed AD are intended to prevent blade failure and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
Comments must be received on or before December 16, 2005.
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 Bell Helicopter Textron Canada, 12,800 Rue de l'Avenir, Mirabel, Quebec J7J1R4, telephone (450) 437-2862 or (800) 363-8023, fax (450) 433-0272
- You may examine the comments to this proposed AD in the AD docket on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov.
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
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-2005-22696, Directorate Identifier 2005-SW-22-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 dockets, 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. The postcard will be date stamped and returned to the commenter.
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 Start Printed Page 60247Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after the DMS receives them.
On November 22, 2004, the FAA issued AD 2004-24-08, Docket No. 2004-SW-12-AD, Amendment 39-13884 (69 FR 69810, December 1, 2004). That AD requires an initial inspection and at intervals not to exceed 12 hours time-in-service (TIS), a 10X inspection or at intervals not to exceed 24 hours TIS a 10X inspection and a 3-hour TIS check between each 24 hour TIS inspection of the blade for a deformation, a crack, and a bent or deformed weight. Also, that AD requires, before further flight, replacing each blade with an airworthy blade if a deformation, a crack, or a bent or deformed weight is found. That action was prompted by three reports of skin cracks originating near the blade trailing edge balance weight. The requirements of that AD are intended to prevent blade failure and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
Since issuing AD 2004-24-08, BHTC has issued Alert Service Bulletin 206-04-100 for Bell Model 206A and B helicopters, and 206L-04-127 for Bell Model 206L series helicopters, both Revision C, both dated March 5, 2005 (ASB). These ASBs add two warnings in the compliance section specifying returning the blade for balancing to Rotor Blades, Inc., and introduce new skin damage limits that supersede the previous damage limits. The ASB also gives a new address for Rotor Blades Inc.
When we issued AD 2004-24-08, we intentionally did not include the long-term requirement (no later than April 27, 2007) for removing and sending the affected blades to Rotor Blades, Inc. as specified by the manufacturer. We are including in this proposal a long-term requirement that the affected blades be replaced on or before April 27, 2007, as terminating action. This will allow public comments before any adoption of the long-term proposal. Additionally, in AD 2004-24-08, we inadvertently omitted blade serial numbers 10102 through 10114 from the applicability. We propose to correct that oversight with this action.
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 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.
Interested persons were afforded an opportunity to participate in the making of AD 2004-24-08, Amendment 39-13884, Docket No. 2004-SW-12-AD, which we are proposing to supersede. Due consideration has been given to the one comment received.
The commenter expresses concern about the 12-hour blade inspection by a mechanic and states the inspection will make this helicopter unsuitable for its intended use. The commenter states the alternate pilot check and mechanic inspection would require them to shut down 4-5 times each day increasing engine cycles. The commenter further states that since the only difference between the pilot check and the mechanic inspection is the 10X magnifier, pilots need to be certified to perform the 12-hour inspection.
While the FAA agrees the checks and inspections could increase engine cycles, the primary purpose of issuing an AD is to correct an unsafe condition. However, the terminating action proposed in this AD would eliminate the current mandated inspections. We do not agree that pilots need to be certified to perform inspections. Current FAA policy allows pilots holding at least a private pilot certificate to perform checks that do not require the use of tools, precision measuring equipment, training, pilot logbook endorsements, or reference to technical data not contained in the body of the AD. Pilots may only perform simple maintenance tasks that do not require special maintenance training. The inspection in the AD requires the use of a 10X or higher magnifying glass, which is not considered a simple visual check. In the interest of safety, the inspection must occur at the specified intervals and be performed by a qualified mechanic until the terminating action is accomplished.
The previously described unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of these same type designs. Therefore, the proposed AD would supersede AD 2004-24-08 to require:
- Before further flight, unless accomplished previously, and before installing any blade with an affected part number and serial number (S/N), 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 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) holding at least a private pilot certificate 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.
- On or before April 27, 2007, replacing each affected blade with an airworthy blade that is identified by a “V” at the end of the blade S/N or an airworthy blade with a S/N other than one listed in the applicability section of this AD.
Replacing each blade with an airworthy blade that is identified by a “V” at the end of the blade S/N or an airworthy blade with a S/N other than one listed in the applicability section of this AD constitutes terminating action for the requirements of this AD.
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD would:
- Affect 2194 helicopters of U.S. registry,
- Take about 1/4 work hour for a blade check or inspection, and Start Printed Page 60248
- Take 3 work hours to replace a blade at an average labor rate of $65 per work hour. Required parts would cost about $5848 per helicopter. (In its ASB, the manufacturer states it will give warranty credit based on hour usage on the blade with remaining life hours and other restrictions.) Based on these figures, we estimate the total cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $19,989,973. Costs assume—200 pilot checks, 26 mechanic inspections, and one blade replacement for 90 percent of the fleet with a nonconforming blade.
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); 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.
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
- Air transportation
- Aviation safety
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 removing Amendment 39-13884 (69 FR 69810, December 1, 2004), and by adding a new airworthiness directive (AD), to read as follows:
Bell Helicopter Textron Canada: Docket No. FAA-2005, Directorate Identifier 2005-SW-22-AD. Supersedes AD 2004-24-08, 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” suffix||Model 206A, B, L, L-1, L-3, & L-4; Blade, P/N P/N 206-016-201-131, S/N with prefix “CS” and no “V” suffix|
|1381 through 1442||7000 through 7018||10174 through 10218|
|1492 through 1517||7020 through 7043||10220|
|1520 through 1542||7045 through 7050||10232|
|1550||7052 through 7132||10235|
|1556||7134 through 7246||10237 through 10241|
|1560||7248 through 7270||10244|
|1562||7272 through 7277||10245|
|1564 through 1567||7279 through 7339||10248|
|1569 through 1606||7342 through 7368||10250 through 10264|
|1609||7784||10266 through 10268|
|1611||7786||10270 through 10274|
|1612||7788||10276 through 10278|
|1614 through 1631||7790 through 7796||10280 through 10282|
|1633 through 1675||7798 through 7819||10284 through 10292|
|1677||7821 through 7833||10296|
|1678||7835 through 7839||10300 through 10330|
|1680 through 1682||7841 through 8001||10332|
|1684 through 1787||8003 through 8026||10333|
|1789 through 1803||8029 through 8061||10335 through 10347|
|1810 through 1812||8064 through 8117||10349|
|1814||8119||10351 through 10359|
|1816||8121 through 8139||10363 through 10365|
|1820||8142 through 8176||10367|
|1823 through 1831||8178 through 8262||10373|
|1834 through 1836||8264 through 8294||10374|
|1838||8298 through 8368||10377 through 10385|
|1840 through 1844||8370 through 8375||10387 through 10408|
|1846||8378 through 8416||10410|
|1848 through 1882||8419||10414 through 10417|
|1884 through 1887||8421||10419 through 10427|
|1889 through 1893||8425 through 8428||10430|
|1896 through 1898||8430 through 8438||10432|
|Start Printed Page 60249|
|Model 206A & B; Blade, P/N 206-016-201-133, S/N with prefix “CS” and no “V” suffix||Model 206A, B, L, L-1, L-3, & L-4; Blade, P/N P/N 206-016-201-131, S/N with prefix “CS” and no “V” suffix|
|1909 through 1912||8443||10442 through 10445|
|1915||8445 through 8447||10458 through 10466|
|1916||8449 through 8606||10469|
|1919 through 1921||8608 through 8622||10470|
|1924||8624 through 8626||10474|
|1928 through 1931||8628 through 8632||10476 through 10478|
|1933||8635 through 8653||10480 through 10487|
|1934 through 1939||8655 through 8686||10489 through 10491|
|1943||8690||10493 through 10495|
|1945||8692 through 8700||10497 through 10503|
|1947||8703 through 8715||10505 through 10588|
|1948||8717 through 8722||10591 through 10606|
|1952 through 1957||8724 through 8742||10608 through 10610|
|1960||8745 through 8828||10612 through 10620|
|1962 through 1965||8830 through 8835||10623|
|8838 through 8840||10624|
|8842 through 8881||10631 through 10655|
|8883 through 9032||10657 through 10669|
|9034 through 9139||10672|
|9141 through 9198||10673|
|9200||10676 through 10678|
|9202 through 9302||10680 through 10683|
|9304 through 9339||10685|
|9341 through 9371||10687|
|9373 through 9411||10689 through 10702|
|9415 through 9417||10712|
|9419 through 9496||10715|
|9498 through 9585||10730|
|9587 through 9594||10732 through 10734|
|9596 through 9618||10736|
|9621 through 9629||10738|
|9632 through 9642||10739|
|9645 through 9651||10746|
|9653 through 9673||10750|
|9675 through 9707||10756|
|9709 through 9724||10760|
|9727 through 9731||10761|
|9733 through 9735||10765|
|9737 through 9739||10770|
|9741 through 9748||10774 through 10776|
|9751 through 9785||10778|
|9788||10783 through 10785|
|9790 through 9792||10792|
|9795 through 9847||10794|
|9849 through 9928||10798|
|9930 through 9937||10799|
|9940 through 9942||10806 through 10808|
|9944 through 9952||10811|
|9955 through 9972||10814 through 10822|
|9974 through 9989||10824|
|9991 through 9995||10825|
|9997 through 10004||10829|
|10006 through 10009||10831|
|10013 through 10018||10923|
|10021 through 10030||10931|
|10036 through 10057||10937|
|10061 through 10082||10940|
|10090 through 10092||10943|
|10094 through 10100||10945|
|10102 through 10114||10947|
|10123 through 10134||10973|
|10136 through 10140||10982|
|10142 through 10144||10985|
|10146 through 10172||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.
Paint irregularities on the blade may indicate a crack.
(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.
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 C, both dated March 5, 2005, pertain to the subject of this AD.
(d) On or before April 27, 2007, for any affected part-numbered blade with a S/N listed in the applicability section of this AD:
(1) Replace the blade with a blade that has a S/N other than one listed in the applicability section of this AD, or
(2) Replace the blade with a blade that has a S/N listed in the applicability section of this AD and also has a “V” suffix.
(e) Replacing each blade with an airworthy blade as required by paragraph (d) of this AD constitutes terminating action for the requirements of this AD.
(f) 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 Transport Canada (Canada) AD No. CF-2004-05R1, dated June 28, 2004.
Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on October 7, 2005.
David A. Downey,
Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 05-20681 Filed 10-14-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P