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Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters (Previously Eurocopter France) Helicopters

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

We are publishing a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Airbus Helicopters (previously Eurocopter France) Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350C, AS350D, AS350D1, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters, which was sent previously to all known U.S. owners and operators of these helicopters. This AD requires repetitively inspecting certain reinforcement angles of the rear structure to tailboom junction frame (reinforcement angles) for a crack, and repairing any cracked reinforcement angle. This AD is prompted by a report that cracks were found in the reinforcement angles on several AS355 helicopters. These actions are intended to detect a crack in the reinforcement angle, which if not corrected, could result in loss of the tailboom and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES:

This AD becomes effective June 25, 2014 to all persons except those persons to whom it was made immediately effective by Emergency AD (EAD) 2014-07-52, issued on March 28, 2014, which contained the requirements of this AD.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain documents listed in this AD as of June 25, 2014

We must receive comments on this AD by August 11, 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 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 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 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.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Robert Grant, Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Group, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5110; email robert.grant@faa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety, and we did not provide you with notice and an opportunity to provide your comments prior to it becoming effective. However, 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 resulted from adopting this AD. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the AD, 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 them 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 rulemaking during the comment period. We will consider all the comments we receive and may conduct additional rulemaking based on those comments.

Discussion

On March 28, 2014, we issued EAD 2014-07-52, which requires, for certain helicopters, within 10 hours time-in-service (TIS) and within every 10 hours TIS thereafter, inspecting the right-hand reinforcement angles for a crack and repairing any cracked reinforcement angle. As an option to performing the 10 hour TIS repetitive inspections, the EAD allows an alternate 165 hour TIS repetitive inspection. The EAD was sent previously to all known U.S. owners and operators of these helicopters.Start Printed Page 33055

EAD 2014-07-52 was prompted by EAD No. 2014-0076-E, dated March 25, 2014, issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350BB, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350D, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters with Modification (MOD) 07 3215 or with at least one reinforcement angle, P/N 350A08.2493.21 or P/N 350A08.2493.23, installed. EASA advises that during the inspection of several AS355 helicopters, cracks were found in the reinforcement angles. EASA further states that a subsequent investigation revealed that cracks were initiated on the non-visible surface of the angle, which is the surface in contact with the frame, and that this condition, if not corrected, could lead to further crack propagation and subsequent loss of the tailboom, resulting in loss of the helicopter. The EASA EAD requires repetitive inspections of the reinforcement angles, and states that a terminating action is currently under investigation.

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 EAD. 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.

Related Service Information

Airbus Helicopters has issued Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (EASB) No. 05.00.70 for Model AS350B, BA, BB, B1, B2, B3, and D helicopters and EASB No. 05.00.62 for Model AS355E, F, F1, F2, N, and NP helicopters, both Revision 0 and dated March 24, 2014. EASB No. 05.00.70 and EASB No. 05.00.62 describe procedures for inspecting the angle reinforcements for a crack.

AD Requirements

This AD requires, for helicopters with 640 or more hours time-in-service (TIS) since installation of MOD 07 3215 or since installation of an applicable reinforcement angle, within 10 hours TIS, and thereafter at intervals not exceeding 10 hours TIS, inspecting certain reinforcement angles for a crack. If there is a crack, this AD requires, before further flight, repairing the reinforcement angle. As an option to performing the 10-hour TIS repetitive inspections, this AD allows an alternate 165-hour TIS repetitive inspection.

Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD

This AD is not applicable to the AS350BB as that model is not type certificated in the U.S. This AD applies to Airbus Helicopters Model AS350C and AS350D1 helicopters because these helicopters have a similar design. The EASA EAD requires a 165 hour TIS repetitive inspection, this AD allows the 165 hour TIS inspection as an option. Finally, the EASA EAD requires operators to contact Airbus Helicopters if there is a crack, this AD does not, however it does require repairing the crack before further flight.

Interim Action

We consider this AD to be an interim action. If final action is later identified, we might consider further rulemaking then.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD will affect 822 helicopters of U.S. Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this AD. At an average labor rate of $85 per hour, inspecting the reinforcement angles for a crack will require 1 work-hour, for a cost per helicopter of $85 and a total cost of $69,870 for the U.S. fleet. If required, repairing a cracked reinforcement angle will require about 10 work-hours, and required parts will cost about $300, for a total cost per helicopter of $1,150.

FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date

Providing an opportunity for public comments before adopting these AD requirements would delay implementing the safety actions needed to correct this known unsafe condition. Therefore, we found and continue to find that the risk to the flying public justifies waiving notice and comment prior to adopting this rule because the required corrective actions must be done within 10 hours time-in-service, a very short time period based on the average flight-hour utilization rate of these helicopters.

Since it was found that immediate corrective action was required, notice and opportunity for prior public comment before issuing this AD were impracticable and contrary to the public interest and good cause existed to make the AD effective immediately by EAD 2014-07-52, issued on March 28, 2014 to all known U.S. owners and operators of these helicopters. These conditions still exist and the AD is hereby published in the Federal Register as an amendment to section 39.13 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 39.13) to make it effective to all persons.

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 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.

For the reasons discussed, 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
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Adoption of the Amendment

Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, Start Printed Page 33056the 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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2014-07-52 Airbus Helicopters (previously Eurocopter France): Amendment 39-17858; Docket No. FAA-2014-0334; Directorate Identifier 2014-SW-021-AD.

(a) Applicability

This AD applies to Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350C, AS350D, AS350D1, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters, certificated in any category, with:

(1) Modification (MOD) 07 3215 installed; or

(2) With a reinforcement angle, part number (P/N) 350A08.2493.21 or P/N 350A08.2493.23, installed.

(b) Unsafe Condition

This AD defines the unsafe condition as a crack in a rear structure to tailboom junction frame reinforcement angle (reinforcement angle), which if not detected could result in loss of the tailboom and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

(c) Effective Date

This AD becomes effective June 25, 2014 to all persons except those persons to whom it was made immediately effective by Emergency AD 2014-07-52, issued on March 28, 2014, which contained the requirements of this AD.

(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 with 640 or more hours time-in-service (TIS) since installation of MOD 07 3215 or since installation of an applicable reinforcement angle, within 10 hours TIS, and thereafter, at intervals not exceeding 10 hours TIS, inspect each reinforcement angle for a crack as depicted in Figure 1 of Airbus Helicopters Emergency Alert Service Bulletin No. 05.00.70 for Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350C, AS350D, AS350D1 helicopters and Airbus Helicopters Emergency Alert Service Bulletin No. 05.00.62 for AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters, both Revision 0 and dated March 24, 2014.

(2) If there is a crack, before further flight, repair the reinforcement angle in a manner approved by the manager listed in paragraph (f)(1) of this AD.

(3) As an optional terminating action for the repetitive inspections required by paragraph (e)(1) of this AD, at intervals not exceeding 165 hours TIS, remove screw No. 5 from the reinforcement angle, thoroughly clean the area around the hole and inspect the reinforcement angle for a crack. If there is not a crack, reinstall the screw. Sequentially repeat the steps required by this paragraph for screws No. 6 through No. 12. If there is a crack, comply with paragraph (e)(2) 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: Robert Grant, Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Group, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5110; email robert.grant@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) Emergency AD No. 2014-0076-E, dated March 25, 2014. You may view the EASA Emergency AD on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FAA-2014-0334.

(h) Subject

Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 5302: Rotorcraft Tailboom.

(i) Material Incorporated by Reference

(1) The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference 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) Airbus Helicopters Emergency Alert Service Bulletin No. 05.00.62, Revision 0, dated March 24, 2014.

(ii) Airbus Helicopters Emergency Alert Service Bulletin No. 05.00.70, Revision 0, dated March 24, 2014.

Note 1 to paragraph (i)(2):

Airbus Helicopters Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (EASB) No. 05.00.62, Revision 0, dated March 24, 2014, and Airbus Helicopters EASB No. 05.00.70, Revision 0, dated March 24, 2014, are co-published as one document along with Airbus Helicopters EASB No. 05.00.45, Revision 0, dated March 24, 2014, and Airbus Helicopters EASB No. 05.00.41, Revision 0, dated March 24, 2014, which are not incorporated by reference in this AD.

(3) For Airbus Helicopters 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.

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Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 21, 2014.

Lance T. Gant,

Acting Directorate Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 2014-12724 Filed 6-9-14; 8:45 am]

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