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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Helicopters

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation (Sikorsky) Model S-92A helicopters to require modifying the No. 1 engine forward firewall center fire extinguisher discharge tube (No. 1 engine tube). This proposed AD is prompted by the discovery that the No. 1 engine tube installed on the helicopters is too long to ensure that a fire could be effectively extinguished on a helicopter. The proposed actions are intended to ensure the No. 1 engine tube would allow for complete coverage of an extinguishing agent in the No. 1 engine compartment area, ensure that a fire would be extinguished and prevent the loss of helicopter control.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by June 21, 2013.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.
  • Fax: 202-493-2251.
  • Mail: Send comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
  • Hand Delivery: Deliver to the “Mail” address between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Examining the AD 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.

For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Attn: Manager, Commercial Technical Support, mailstop s581a, 6900 Main Street, Stratford, CT 06614; telephone (800) 562-4409; email tsslibrary@sikorsky.com; or at http://www.sikorsky.com. You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Michael Schwetz, Aviation Safety Engineer, Boston Aircraft Certification Office, Engine & Propeller Directorate, FAA, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803; telephone (781) 238-7761; email michael.schwetz@faa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

We invite you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. We also invite comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of written comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters should submit only one time.

We will file in the docket all comments that we receive, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this proposal, we will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider comments filed after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. We may change this proposal in light of the comments we receive.

Discussion

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation (Sikorsky) Model S-92A helicopters with serial numbers (S/N) 920006 through 920169. This proposed AD is prompted by a recent event where an extinguishing test at a Sikorsky plant showed that an incorrect No. 1 engine tube length had been put into production. Because of the incorrect tube length, if a fire erupts in the engine compartment, the fire-extinguishing system may not discharge the agent completely throughout the compartment to extinguish the blaze. This proposed AD would require removing the No. 1 engine tube, cutting off two inches from the discharge end of the tube, and inspecting the outboard discharge tube and positioning both tubes to ensure that they would provide complete coverage of the extinguishing agent in the No. 1 engine compartment area to ensure that a fire can be extinguished.

FAA's Determination

We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all known relevant information and determined that an unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of these same type designs.

Related Service Information

Sikorsky has issued Alert Service Bulletin 92-26-004 (ASB), dated June 4, 2012, to modify the No. 1 engine tube within 120 days. The ASB specifies procedures to cut two inches off the tube's discharge end, as well as how to inspect and reposition, if necessary, the outboard discharge tube.

Proposed AD Requirements

This proposed AD would require removing the No. 1 engine tube, removing two inches from the discharge end of the tube, and then require inspecting the outboard discharge tube Start Printed Page 23699for correct positioning. If the outboard discharge tube is not correctly positioned, this proposed AD would require correcting the positioning.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 24 U.S. registered helicopters and that labor costs would average $85 per work-hour. Based on these estimates, we expect the following costs:

  • Modifying the No. 1 engine tube would take two work-hours for an estimated labor cost of $170 per helicopter. No parts would be needed, so the cost for the U.S. fleet would total $4,080.
  • Inspecting the outboard discharge tube and ensuring that it is in the required position would take about one work-hour for a total labor cost of $85 per helicopter. No parts would be needed for a total U.S. fleet cost of $2,040.

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.

Regulatory Findings

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

3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska to the extent that it justifies making a regulatory distinction; and

4. 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.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

  • Air transportation
  • Aircraft
  • Aviation safety
  • Incorporation by Reference
  • Safety
End List of Subjects

The Proposed Amendment

Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

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PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

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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]
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2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD):

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SIKORSKY AIRCRAFT CORPORATION: Docket No. FAA-2013-0352; Directorate Identifier 2012-SW-063-AD.

(a) Applicability

This AD applies to Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation (Sikorsky) Model S-92A helicopters, serial numbers 920006 through 920169, certificated in any category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

This AD defines the unsafe condition as failure of the No. 1 engine forward firewall center fire extinguisher discharge tube to discharge an extinguishing agent for complete coverage of the No. 1 engine compartment area. This condition could result in a fire not being extinguished and subsequent loss of helicopter control.

(c) Compliance

You are responsible for performing each action required by this AD within the specified compliance time unless it has already been accomplished prior to that time.

(d) Required Actions

Within 120 days:

(1) Modify the No. 1 engine forward firewall center discharge tube in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, Paragraph B, of Sikorsky Alert Service Bulletin 92-26-004, dated June 4, 2012 (ASB).

(2) Inspect the outboard discharge tube and determine if it is correctly positioned as depicted in Figure 3 of the ASB. If it is not correctly positioned, correct the positioning in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, Paragraph D, of the ASB.

(e) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOC)

(1) The Manager, Boston Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Michael Schwetz, Aviation Safety Engineer, Boston Aircraft Certification Office, Engine & Propeller Directorate, FAA, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803; telephone (781) 238-7761; email michael.schwetz@faa.gov.

(2) For operations conducted under a 14 CFR part 119 operating certificate or under 14 CFR part 91, subpart K, we suggest that you notify your principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office or certificate holding district office before operating any aircraft complying with this AD through an AMOC.

(f) Additional Information

For service information identified in this AD, contact Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Attn: Manager, Commercial Technical Support, mailstop s581a, 6900 Main Street, Stratford, CT 06614; telephone (800) 562-4409; email tsslibrary@sikorsky.com; or at http://www.sikorsky.com. You may review a copy of information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137.

(g) Subject

Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 2620, Extinguishing System.

Start Signature

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on April 11, 2013.

Lance T. Gant,

Acting Directorate Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2013-09406 Filed 4-19-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P