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Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters (Type Certificate Previously Held by Eurocopter France)

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Airbus Model AS332C, AS332L, AS332L1, AS332L2, and SA330J helicopters. This AD requires inspecting the crimping of the ball joint of the upper- and lower- end-fittings of the main servo-control and, depending on findings, replacing the main servo-control or repairing the ball joint. This AD was prompted by incidents of missing crimping on the ball joints of servo-control end-fittings. The actions of this AD are intended to prevent failure of a main servo-control upper end fitting, and subsequent failure of the flight controls and loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES:

This AD is effective March 26, 2014.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain documents listed in this AD as of March 26, 2014.

ADDRESSES:

For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus Helicopters, Inc., 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75052; telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323; fax (972) 641-3775; or at http://www.airbushelicopters.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.

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 AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, any incorporated-by-reference service information, the economic evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Start Printed Page 9396Docket Operations Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations Office, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Matt Wilbanks, Aviation Safety Engineer, Regulations and Policy Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5110; email matt.wilbanks@faa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

On August 20, 2013, at 78 FR 51115, the Federal Register published our notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which proposed to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain Eurocopter France (Eurocopter) Model AS332C, AS332L, AS332L1, AS332L2, and SA330J helicopters. The NPRM proposed visually inspecting the applicable ball joint of the upper and lower end-fittings of the main servo control for crimping. If the ball joint of the upper end-fitting was not crimped and the slipping of the ball joint was one millimeter (mm) or greater, the NPRM proposed replacing the servo-control. If the ball joint of the upper end-fitting was not crimped and the slipping of the ball joint was less than one mm, the NPRM proposed replacing the servo-control or crimping the ball joint. If the ball joint of the lower end-fitting was not crimped, the NPRM proposed crimping the ball joint. The proposed requirements were intended to prevent failure of a main servo-control upper end fitting, and subsequent failure of the flight controls and loss of control of the helicopter.

The NPRM was prompted by AD No. 2012-0248, dated November 20, 2012, issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, to correct an unsafe condition for Eurocopter Model AS 332 C, AS 332 C1, AS 332 L, AS 332 L1, AS 332 L2, and SA 330 J helicopters with certain part-numbered main servo-controls installed. EASA advises that several occurrences were reported to Eurocopter of missing crimping on ball joints of servo-control end-fittings. EASA states that while slipping of the ball joint of the lower end-fitting does not affect its service life, slipping of the ball joint of the upper end-fitting can lead to a significant reduction of the service life of this end-fitting. As a result, the EASA AD requires inspecting each ball joint for crimping and, depending on the findings, replacing the main servo-control.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD, but we did not receive any comments on the NPRM (78 FR 51115, August 20, 2013).

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 the EASA AD. We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all information provided by EASA and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of these same type designs and that air safety and the public interest require adopting the AD requirements as proposed except for a minor editorial change. The type certificate holder's name for the affected models in this AD changed from Eurocopter France to Airbus Helicopters on January 10, 2014. This editorial change is consistent with the intent of the proposals in the NPRM (78 FR 51115, August 20, 2013) and will not increase the economic burden on any operator nor increase the scope of this AD.

Related Service Information

Eurocopter issued one Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (EASB) with three different numbers, all Revision 1, and all dated December 5, 2012. EASB No. 67.00.45 applies to civilian Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, AS332L1, AS332L2, and military Model AS332B, AS332B1, AS332M, AS332M1, and AS332F1 helicopters. EASB No. 67.00.31 applies to military Model AS532AC, AS532AL, AS532SC, AS532UC, AS532UE, AS532UL, AS532A2, and AS532U2 helicopters. EASB No. 67.19 applies to civilian Model SA330J and military Model SA330Ba, SA330Ca, SA330Ea, SA330L, SA330Jm, SA330S1, and SA330Sm helicopters. The EASB specifies visually checking for crimping of the ball joints of the upper- and lower- servo control end-fittings and informing the Eurocopter Technical Support Department of any ball joint that is not crimped. For an upper end-fitting ball joint that is not crimped and slips one mm or greater, the EASB specifies returning the servo-control for replacement of the ball joint and the end-fitting. For an upper end-fitting ball joint that is not crimped and slips less than one mm, the EASB specifies either crimping the ball joint or returning the servo-control for ball joint crimping. For a lower end-fitting ball joint that is not crimped, the EASB states to crimp the ball joint. The EASB also states that if a ball joint is crimped, no action on that ball joint is required in regard to this unsafe condition.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 18 helicopters of U.S. Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this AD. We estimate it will take 1 work-hour to inspect the ball joint for crimping at an average labor cost of $85 per work-hour. Based on these figures, it will cost about $85 per helicopter for the inspection, or $1,530 for U.S. operators. We estimate it will take 4 work-hours to replace a servo-control and parts will cost approximately $60,358 for a total estimated cost of $60,698 for replacement.

According to the Eurocopter service information some of the costs of this AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on affected individuals. We do not control warranty coverage by Airbus Helicopters, Eurocopter, or UTC Actuation Systems/Goodrich Actuation Systems. Accordingly, we have included all costs in our cost estimate.

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 helicopters identified in this rulemaking action.

Regulatory Findings

This AD will not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This AD will 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.Start Printed Page 9397

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this AD:

(1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866;

(2) Is not a “significant rule” under 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 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

Adoption of the Amendment

Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA amends 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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2014-03-02  Airbus Helicopters (Type Certificate previously held by Eurocopter France): Amendment 39-17739; Docket No. FAA-2013-0737; Directorate Identifier 2012-SW-111-AD.

(a) Applicability

This AD applies to the following model helicopters, certificated in any category, with a part-numbered main servo-control listed below: overhauled or repaired by UTC Actuation Systems/Goodrich Actuation Systems between June 1, 2008, and September 15, 2012, inclusive; or with a serial number listed in Appendix 1 of Eurocopter Emergency Alert Service Bulletin No. 67.00.45 (EASB 67.00.45) or 67.19 (EASB 67.19), both Revision 1, and both dated December 5, 2012, as applicable to your model helicopter:

(1) Model AS332C, AS332L, AS332L1, and AS332L2 helicopters with main servo-control, part number (P/N) SC7202, SC7202- (all dash numbers), SC7203, SC7203- (all dash numbers), SC7221, or SC7221- (all dash numbers), installed; and

(2) Model SA330J helicopters with main servo-control P/N SC7111, SC7111- (all dash numbers) SC7112, or SC7112- (all dash numbers), installed.

(b) Unsafe Condition

This AD defines the unsafe condition as missing crimping on a ball joint of a main servo-control end-fitting. This condition could result in failure of a main servo-control upper end fitting, failure of the flight controls, and loss of control of the helicopter.

(c) Effective Date

This AD becomes effective March 26, 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) Within 85 hours time-in-service (TIS):

(i) Using a light source, inspect the ball joint of the upper end-fitting of the main servo control for crimping in accordance with Detail A and Detail B, Figure 1, of Eurocopter EASB 67.00.45 or EASB 67.19, as applicable to your model helicopter.

(A) If the upper ball joint is not crimped and the ball joint slips a distance of 1 millimeter (mm) or greater, replace the servo-control with an airworthy servo-control.

(B) If the upper ball joint is not crimped and the ball joint slips a distance of less than 1mm, either crimp the ball joint or replace the servo-control with an airworthy servo-control.

(ii) Using a light source, inspect the ball joint of the lower end-fitting of the main servo-control for crimping in accordance with Detail A and Detail B, Figure 1, of Eurocopter EASB 67.00.45 or EASB 67.19, as applicable to your model helicopter. If the lower ball joint is not crimped, crimp the ball joint.

(2) Prior to installing any servo-control that is affected by this AD, perform the required actions in accordance with paragraphs (e)(1) of this AD.

(f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

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

(g) Additional Information

The subject of this AD is addressed in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No. 2012-0248, dated November 20, 2012. You may view the EASA AD on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FAA-2013-0737.

(h) Subject

Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6730, Rotor Flight Control—Rotorcraft Servo System.

(i) Material Incorporated by Reference

(1) The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference (IBR) of the service information listed in this paragraph under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.

(2) You must use this service information as applicable to do the actions required by this AD, unless the AD specifies otherwise.

(i) Eurocopter Emergency Alert Service Bulletin No. 67.00.45, Revision 1, dated December 5, 2012.

(ii) Eurocopter Emergency Alert Service Bulletin No. 67.19, Revision 1, dated December 5, 2012.

Note 1 to paragraph (i)(2):

Eurocopter Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (EASB) Nos. 67.00.45 and 67.19, both Revision 1, and both dated December 5, 2012, are co-published as one document along with Eurocopter EASB No. 67.00.31, Revision 1, dated December 5, 2012, which is not incorporated by reference.

(3) For Eurocopter service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus Helicopters, Inc., 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75052; telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323; fax (972) 641-3775; or at http://www.airbushelicopters.com/​techpub.

(4) You may view this service information at FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (817) 222-5110.

(5) You may view this service information that is incorporated by reference at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call (202) 741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/​federal-register/​cfr/​ibr-locations.html.

Start Signature

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on January 24, 2014.

Kim Smith,

Directorate Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 2014-02972 Filed 2-18-14; 8:45 am]

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