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Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron Helicopters

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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 Bell Helicopter Textron (Bell) Model 430 helicopters. This AD requires establishing a life limit for a certain main rotor hub attachment bolt (bolt) and removing from service each bolt that has met or exceeded its life limit. This AD was prompted by a documentation error that omitted the life limit of a certain part-numbered bolt from the Airworthiness Limitations section of the maintenance manual. The actions of this AD are intended to establish a life limit for a certain part-numbered bolt to prevent failure of a bolt, failure of a main rotor hub, and subsequent loss of control of a helicopter.

DATES:

This AD is effective November 18, 2016.

ADDRESSES:

For service information identified in this final rule, contact Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited, 12,800 Rue de l'Avenir, Mirabel, Quebec J7J1R4; telephone (450) 437-2862 or (800) 363-8023; fax (450) 433-0272; or at http://www.bellcustomer.com/​files/​. You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-6551; 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 Transport Canada AD, the economic evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket 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 Fuller, Senior Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email matthew.fuller@faa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

On May 10, 2016, at 81 FR 28766, 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 serial-numbered Bell Model 430 helicopters with bolt part number (P/N) MS21250-08083 installed. The NPRM proposed to require, within 10 hours time-in-service (TIS), revising the Airworthiness Limitations section of the applicable maintenance manual or Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA) by establishing a life limit of 5,000 hours TIS for each bolt P/N MS21250-08083, determining the number of hours TIS for each bolt and using the helicopter's hours if the hours TIS of a bolt is unknown, and removing from service each bolt that has reached or exceeded its life limit. The proposed requirements were intended to establish a life limit for the bolt to prevent failure of a bolt, failure of a main rotor hub, and subsequent loss of control of a helicopter.

Transport Canada, which is the aviation authority for Canada, has issued Canadian AD No. CF-2013-26, dated September 24, 2013, to correct an unsafe condition for certain serial-numbered Bell Model 430 helicopters. Transport Canada advises that bolt P/N MS21250-08083, which replaced bolt P/N 20-065-08083 in 2009, has a retirement life of 5,000 hours. However, the retirement life for the replacement bolt was inadvertently omitted from the limitations section of the Bell 430 maintenance manual. Transport Canada advises that this situation, if not corrected, could result in failure of a bolt and loss of control of the helicopter. Transport Canada AD No. CF-2013-26 requires reviewing the helicopter records to determine if bolt P/N MS21250-08083 is installed, creating a historical service record, and establishing an airworthiness life of 5,000 hours air time.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD, but we did not receive any comments on the NPRM (81 FR 28766, May 10, 2016).

FAA's Determination

These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of Canada and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with Canada, Transport Canada, its technical representative, has notified us of the unsafe condition described in its AD. We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all information provided by Transport Canada and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of the same type design and that air safety and the public interest require adopting the AD requirements as proposed.

Differences Between This AD and the Transport Canada AD

This AD requires compliance within 10 hours TIS, while the Transport Canada AD requires compliance within 60 days.

Related Service Information

We reviewed Bell Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin 430-12-47, dated November 14, 2012 (ASB). The ASB states that original bolt P/N 20-065-08083 has a retirement life of 5,000 hours but has been replaced by standard bolt P/N MS21250-08083, which does not have a life limit listed in the maintenance manual. The purpose of the ASB is to establish a life limit of 5,000 hours for the replacement bolt. Bell specifies reviewing the aircraft records back to January 2009 to determine which part-numbered bolts are installed. If a replacement bolt P/N MS21250-08083 is installed, the ASB specifies using data from aircraft records to create a historical service record for the replacement bolts and reflecting the 5,000 hours life limit. The ASB also specifies updating the Bell 430 maintenance manual.Start Printed Page 70929

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 43 helicopters of U.S. Registry.

We estimate that operators may incur the following costs to comply with this AD. At an average labor cost of $85 per work-hour, we estimate reviewing and revising the records requires 1 work-hour for a cost of about $85 per helicopter and $3,655 for the U.S. fleet. We estimate replacing a bolt that has exceeded its life limit requires 0.5 work-hour plus $290 for a replacement bolt, for a total cost of $333 per bolt.

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.

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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2016-21-01 Bell Helicopter Textron: Amendment 39-18682; Docket No. FAA-2016-6551; Directorate Identifier 2013-SW-070-AD.

(a) Applicability

This AD applies to Model 430 helicopters, serial number 49001 through 49129, with a main rotor head attachment bolt (bolt) part number (P/N) MS21250-08083 installed, certificated in any category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

This AD defines the unsafe condition as a bolt remaining in service beyond its fatigue life. This condition could result in failure of a bolt, failure of the main rotor hub and subsequent loss of control of a helicopter.

(c) Effective Date

This AD becomes effective November 18, 2016.

(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

Within 10 hours time-in-service (TIS):

(1) Revise the Airworthiness Limitations section of the applicable maintenance manual or Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA) to establish a life limit of 5,000 hours TIS for each bolt P/N MS21250-08083.

(2) Determine the number of hours TIS for each bolt and update the helicopter's historical records. If the hours TIS is unknown, calculate the number of hours TIS by counting the helicopter's hours TIS beginning January 1, 2009.

(3) Remove from service each bolt that has reached or exceeded its life limit.

(f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Matt Fuller, Senior Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email 9-ASW-FTW-AMOC-Requests@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

(1) Bell Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin 430-12-47, dated November 14, 2012, which is not incorporated by reference, contains additional information about the subject of this final rule. For service information identified in this final rule, contact Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited, 12,800 Rue de l'Avenir, Mirabel, Quebec J7J1R4; telephone (450) 437-2862 or (800) 363-8023; fax (450) 433-0272; or at http://www.bellcustomer.com/​files/​. You may review a copy of the service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

(2) The subject of this AD is addressed in Transport Canada AD No. CF-2013-26, dated September 24, 2013. You may view the Transport Canada AD on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FAA-2016-6551.

(h) Subject

Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6220 Main Rotor Head.

Start Signature

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on October 3, 2016.

Lance T. Gant,

Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 2016-24741 Filed 10-13-16; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P