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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Eurocopter France (Eurocopter) Helicopters

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Start Printed Page 66669Eurocopter Model SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2, and AS 365 N3 helicopters. This proposed AD would require repetitively inspecting frame number (No.) 9 for a crack. This proposed AD is prompted by a report of a crack in frame No. 9 on an AS365 helicopter. The proposed actions are intended to detect a crack and prevent loss of structural integrity and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by January 6, 2014.

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 foreign authority's 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 American Eurocopter Corporation, 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75052; telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323; fax (972) 641-3775; or at http://www.eurocopter.com/​techpub. 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.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Gary Roach, Aviation Safety Engineer, Regulations and Policy Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5110; email gary.b.roach@faa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

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

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD No. 2012-0108-E, dated June 15, 2012 (AD 2012-0108-E), to correct an unsafe condition for Eurocopter Model SA 365 N, SA 365 N1, AS 365 N2, and AS 365 N3 helicopters with a frame No. 9 installed, if certain “doublers or repairs have been installed.” EASA advises that a crack was discovered during the “T” inspection of an AS365 helicopter. The crack started at a rivet hole of a doubler that was installed on the frame No. 9 in accordance with Eurocopter Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) 53.00.42, dated January 31, 2001. EASA further states that structural alteration of frame No. 9 by modifications or repairs can result in fatigue crack initiation under normal operational loads. According to EASA, this condition, if not corrected, could lead to crack propagation and failure of frame No. 9, which would adversely affect the structural integrity of the helicopter. For these reasons, AD 2012-0108-E requires repetitive inspections of frame No. 9 for a crack in the area of the doubler or any repair performed in the area of the latch support and stretcher support.

FAA's Determination

These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of France and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with France, EASA, its technical representative, has notified us of the unsafe condition described in its AD. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all known relevant information and determined that an unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

Related Service Information

Eurocopter has issued one Emergency ASB (EASB) with two numbers: EASB No. 05.00.63, Revision 1, dated June 18, 2012, for Model AS365 helicopters and EASB No. 05.00.30, Revision 1, dated June 18, 2012, for Model AS565 helicopters. The EASB applies to helicopters with a frame No. 9 that has not been modified by modification (MOD) 07 53C17 or MOD 07 53D02, and that has had doublers installed or repairs performed in accordance with certain service instructions. The EASB describes procedures to inspect the frame No. 9 for a crack, and for contacting Eurocopter for further procedures if there is a crack.

Proposed AD Requirements

This proposed AD would require, for helicopters that have a No. 9 frame that has had any repair or alteration made, within 10 hours time-in-service (TIS) and every 110 hours TIS thereafter, inspecting the left-hand (LH) and right-hand (RH) frame No. 9 for a crack in the areas of the latch support and stretcher support with a 10X or higher power magnifying glass. For all other helicopters, this proposed AD would require this inspection within 110 hours TIS and every 110 hours TIS thereafter. If there is a crack, the proposed AD would require, before further flight, repairing the crack.

Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD

The EASA AD requires contacting Eurocopter for repair instructions if there is a crack, and the proposed AD does not. The proposed AD would apply to all Eurocopter 365 helicopters, not just those that were altered or repaired in accordance with specific Eurocopter MODs.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 37 helicopters of U.S. Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this AD. At an average Start Printed Page 66670labor rate of $85 per hour, inspecting LH and RH frame No. 9 would require about 3 work-hours, for a cost per helicopter of $255 and a total cost to U.S. operators of $9,435 per inspection cycle. Repairing a cracked frame No. 9 would require about 20 work-hours, and required parts would cost about $10,000, for a cost per helicopter of $11,700.

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 proposed 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

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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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Eurocopter France Helicopters: Docket No. FAA-2013-0938; Directorate Identifier 2012-SW-057-AD.

(a) Applicability

This AD applies to Eurocopter France (Eurocopter) Model SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2, and AS 365 N3 helicopters, certificated in any category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

This AD defines the unsafe condition as a crack in frame number (No.) 9, which could result in failure of frame No. 9, loss of structural integrity, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

(c) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by January 6, 2014.

(d) 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.

(e) Required Actions

(1) For helicopters that have any repair or alteration to the frame No. 9, within 10 hours time-in-service (TIS) and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 110 hours TIS, using a 10X or higher power magnifying glass, inspect the left-hand (LH) and right-hand (RH) frame No. 9 for a crack in the area of the latch support and stretcher support, as depicted in Figure 1 of Eurocopter AS365 Emergency Alert Service Bulletin No. 05.00.63, Revision 1, dated June 18, 2012.

(2) For all other helicopters, within 110 hours TIS and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 110 hours TIS, perform the inspection in paragraph (e)(1) of this AD.

(3) If there is a crack, before further flight, repair the frame No. 9. Repairing a frame is not terminating action for the repetitive inspections required by paragraphs (e)(1) and (e)(2) of this AD.

(f) Special flight permit

Special flight permits may be issued for up to 10 hours TIS and a maximum crack length of 80 mm.

(g) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Gary Roach, Aviation Safety Engineer, Regulations and Policy Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5110; email gary.b.roach@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.

(h) Additional Information

(1) The subject of this AD is addressed in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Emergency AD No. 2012-0108-E, dated June 15, 2012. You may view the EASA AD on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket number FAA-2013-0938.

(i) Subject

Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 5300: Fuselage Structure (General).

Start Signature

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on October 30, 2013.

Kim Smith,

Directorate Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2013-26568 Filed 11-5-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P