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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Model 222, 222B, 222U, 230, and 430 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.

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

This document proposes superseding an existing airworthiness directive (AD) for Bell Helicopter Textron Canada (Bell) Model 222, 222B, 222U, 230, and 430 helicopters. That AD currently requires visually inspecting the main rotor hydraulic actuator support (support) to verify the presence of all dowel pins and sealant between the support and transmission and verifying the proper torque of each attaching nut (nut). This action would require the same actions as the existing AD but would also require the repetitive actions at intervals not to exceed 600 hours time-in-service (TIS) or 12 months, whichever occurs first. This proposal is prompted by the discovery that the 12-month compliance requirement was correctly included in the Emergency AD (EAD) that we issued but was inadvertently omitted when we published the Final rule; request for comments following the issuance of the EAD. The actions specified by the proposed AD are intended to prevent failure of the support and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before June 23, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

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

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Fax: 202-493-2251.
  • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.
  • Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, 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://www.regulations.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Tyrone Millard, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Rotorcraft Standards Staff, Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0110, telephone (817) 222-5439, 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 an address listed under the caption ADDRESSES. Include the docket number “FAA-2008-0449, Directorate Identifier 2007-SW-10-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://www.regulations.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 the 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).

Examining the Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or in person at the Docket Operations office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the economic evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone (800) 647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

Discussion

On January 5, 2001, we issued EAD 2001-01-51 for Bell Model 222, 222B, 222U, 230, and 430 helicopters which requires, at specified time intervals, visually inspecting the support for the presence of all dowel pins and sealant between the support and transmission and verifying the proper torque of each nut. That action was prompted by the failure of a support resulting in an accident of a Bell Model 222U helicopter. All retaining studs and shear pins were found sheared or pulled out at the junction between the support and transmission case. The requirements of that EAD are intended to prevent failure of the support and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

On February 2, 2001, we issued AD 2001-01-51, Amendment 39-12105, Docket No. 2000-SW-54-AD as a Final rule; request for comments (66 FR 10361, February 15, 2001). Since issuing that AD, we discovered that we inadvertently omitted the phrase “or 12 months, whichever occurs first,” from compliance paragraph (a) of the published final rule AD. Because the two versions of AD 2001-01-51 have different compliance times, we are proposing to supersede that AD to include the correct compliance time.

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 2001-01-51 to require the following:

  • Within 25 hours TIS, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 600 hours TIS or 12 months, whichever occurs first:
  • Visually inspect the support, part number (P/N) 222-040-125-001, for the presence of all dowel pins and for sealant between the support and transmission. If any pin is missing or if no sealant is visible, before further flight, remove the support and further inspect the support, transmission case, studs, and dowel pins. Repair or replace any unairworthy support, transmission case, stud, or dowel pin before further flight.
  • Verify the torque of the nuts. Upper nuts must not rotate at a torque less than 40 in-lbs. Lower nuts must not rotate at a torque less than 90 in-lbs.
  • If two or more upper nuts rotate at a torque less than 40 in-lbs. or two or more lower nuts rotate at a torque less than 90 in-lbs., before further flight, remove the support and further inspect the support, transmission case, studs, and dowel pins. Repair or replace any unairworthy part before further flight.
  • If less than two upper nuts rotate at a torque less than 40 in-lbs. or less than two lower nuts rotate at a torque less than 90 in-lbs., before further flight, retorque the upper nut to 50 to 70 in-Start Printed Page 21854lbs. plus tare and the lower nut to 100 to 140 in-lbs. plus tare.
  • At not less than 20 hours TIS nor more than 30 hours TIS after reinstalling a support for any reason, verify the torque of the nuts.

We have reviewed Bell Alert Service Bulletin Nos. 222-00-86, 222U-00-57, 230-00-18, and 430-00-17, all dated May 19, 2000 (ASB's), which specify, within 25 hours TIS, conducting a one-time inspection of the support installation by accomplishing a torque check of the support attaching nuts. In addition, a revision to the maintenance manual will introduce a recurring torque check of the nuts. Transport Canada classified these ASB's as mandatory and issued AD No. CF-2000-29 dated September 6, 2000, to ensure the continued airworthiness of these helicopters in Canada.

We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 145 helicopters of U.S. registry. It would take approximately 1/2 work hour per helicopter to inspect for proper torque, and the average labor rate is $80 per work hour. The cost for the inspection is estimated to be $5,800. Assuming 15 helicopters require removing the support for additional inspections, it would take approximately 6 additional work hours at $80 per work hour and $50 for parts at an additional total cost of $7,950. Based on these figures, we estimate the total cost impact of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $13,750, assuming no supports must be replaced.

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, 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 an economic evaluation of the estimated costs to comply with this proposed AD and placed it in the AD docket.

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.

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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 removing Amendment 39-12105 (66 FR 10361, February 15, 2001) and by adding a new airworthiness directive (AD), to read as follows:

Bell Helicopter Textron Canada: Docket No. FAA-2008-0449; Directorate Identifier 2007-SW-10-AD. Supersedes AD 2001-01-51, Amendment 39-12105, Docket No. 2000-SW-54-AD.

Applicability: Model 222, 222B, 222U, 230, and 430 helicopters, with a main rotor hydraulic actuator support (support), part number (P/N) 222-040-125-001, installed, certificated in any category.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent failure of the support and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter, accomplish the following:

(a) Within 25 hours time-in-service (TIS) and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 600 hours TIS or 12 months, whichever occurs first, accomplish the following:

(1) Visually inspect the support for the presence of all dowel pins and for sealant between the support and transmission. If any pin is missing, or if no sealant is visible, before further flight, remove the support and further inspect the support, transmission case, studs, and dowel pins in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraphs 5 through 7, of the applicable Bell Helicopter Textron Alert Service Bulletin Nos. 222-00-86, 222U-00-57, 230-00-18, or 430-00-17, all dated May 19, 2000 (ASB's). Repair or replace any unairworthy support, transmission case, stud, or dowel pin before further flight.

(2) Verify the torque of the support attaching nuts (nuts). Upper nuts must not rotate at a torque less than 40 in-lbs. Lower nuts must not rotate at a torque less than 90 in-lbs.

(i) If two or more upper nuts rotate at a torque less than 40 in-lbs. or two or more lower nuts rotate at a torque less than 90 in-lbs., before further flight, remove the support and further inspect the support, transmission case, studs, and dowel pins in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 5 through 7, of the applicable ASB's. Repair or replace any unairworthy support, transmission case, stud, or dowel pin before further flight.

(ii) If less than two upper nuts rotate at a torque less than 40 in-lbs. or less than two lower nuts rotate at a torque less than 90 in-lbs., before further flight, retorque the upper nut to 50 to 70 in-lbs. plus tare and the lower nut to 100 to 140 in-lbs. plus tare.

(b) At not less than 20 hours TIS nor more than 30 hours TIS after reinstalling a support for any reason, verify the torque of the nuts in accordance with paragraph (a)(2) of this AD.

(c) 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 Manager, Rotorcraft Standards Staff, FAA, ATTN: Tyrone Millard, telephone (817) 222-5439, fax (817) 222-5961, for information about previously approved alternative methods of compliance.

Note:

The subject of this AD is addressed in Transport Canada (Canada) AD CF-2000-29, dated September 6, 2000.

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Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on April 14, 2008.

David A. Downey,

Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. E8-8754 Filed 4-22-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P