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Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Airbus Helicopters Model AS355NP helicopters. This AD requires removing and installing the fire extinguishing system pipes. This AD is prompted by the discovery that the left-hand and right-hand fire extinguishing discharge systems were incorrectly connected. The actions of this AD are intended to correct the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective January 31, 2017.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain document listed in this AD as of January 31, 2017.

ADDRESSES:

For service information identified in this final rule, contact Airbus Helicopters, 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, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-5807.

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-2015-5807; 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) ADs, any incorporated-by-reference service information, 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.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

George Schwab, Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email george.schwab@faa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

On April 12, 2016, at 81 FR 21493, 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 Airbus Helicopters Model AS355NP helicopters with an Arrius 1A1 fire extinguishing system installed. The NPRM proposed to require removing and correctly installing the fire extinguishing system pipes in accordance with Airbus Helicopters' service information and removing any placards on the instrument panel if installed. The proposed requirements were intended to correct the connections and to prevent the fire extinguishing system from discharging to the wrong engine compartment, failure of the fire extinguishing system to control a fire, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

The NPRM was prompted by AD No. 2011-0192-E, dated October 4, 2011, issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, to correct an unsafe condition for Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) Model AS355NP helicopters with an Arrius 1A1 fire extinguishing system installed through production modification (mod) OP-3931.

EASA advises that during an inspection of the engine fire extinguishing system on an AS355NP helicopter, the left-hand (LH) fire extinguisher discharge system was found connected to the right-hand (RH) engine compartment and the RH discharge system was connected to the LH engine compartment. An investigation showed that this erroneous installation was inherent in Eurocopter production modification (mod) OP-3931. According to EASA, this condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to the discharge of the fire extinguisher in the wrong engine compartment in the event of a fire. Pending the development of a modified extinguishing system, EASA Emergency AD No. 2011-0192-E required installing a placard warning the flight crew of the erroneous installation until the squibs on each fire extinguisher are exchanged.

After EASA issued Emergency AD No. 2011-0192-E, Airbus Helicopters developed a permanent modification of the discharge system to reconfigure the position of the squibs on each fire extinguisher to line up with the control buttons. EASA subsequently issued superseding EASA AD No. 2015-0181, dated August 31, 2015, to retain the requirements of its previous Emergency AD and require the modification of the engine fire extinguishing discharge system within 12 months.

Comments

After our NPRM (81 FR 21493, April 12, 2016) was published, we received two comments from Airbus Helicopters.

Request

Airbus Helicopters requested that the proposed AD have mod 073990 as a terminating action and exempt Model AS355NP aircraft that are “post mod 073990” from the AD's requirements.

We agree with the comment but disagree that a change to the AD is necessary. The AD requires compliance with the service information that Airbus Helicopters has identified as mod 073990. A Model AS355NP helicopter in a “post mod 073990” configuration has complied with the service information, and therefore has also previously complied with the required Start Printed Page 94943actions of the AD under paragraph (d). We have added a note to the required actions to specify that the service information is the equivalent of Mod 073990.

Airbus Helicopters also requested that we clarify that the AD requires removing and installing certain pipes and not removing and installing the entire fire extinguishing system.

We agree and revised the Required Actions paragraph to clarify that compliance means removing and installing the pipes.

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, reviewed the relevant information, considered the comments received, 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 with the changes described previously. These changes are consistent with the intent of the proposals in the NPRM (81 FR 21493, April 12, 2016) and will not increase the economic burden on any operator nor increase the scope of this AD.

Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD

The EASA AD requires installing a placard on the instrument panel to warn the flight crew of the erroneous installation until the squibs on each fire extinguisher are exchanged, and then, within 12 months, removing and re-installing certain pipes in the fire extinguishing system to position the squibs in line with the control buttons. This AD does not require installation of the placards or the temporary exchange of the squibs. Also, this AD requires removing and re-installing the fire extinguisher system pipes within 600 hours time-in-service or at the next annual inspection, whichever occurs first.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin No. AS355-26.00.10, Revision 0, dated July 2, 2015 (ASB AS355-26.00.10). ASB AS355-26.00.10 provides procedures for removing the fire extinguishing system's pipes and re-installing them in a configuration where the squibs match the positioning of the fire extinguisher discharge heads. ASB AS355-26.00.10 also specifies removing any previously-affixed placard on the instrument panel and installing new discharge system pipes. Helicopters with mod 073990 installed have already complied with ASB AS355-26.00.10.

This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

Other Related Service Information

We also reviewed Eurocopter Emergency Alert Service Bulletin No. 26.00.09, Revision 0, dated September 15, 2011 (EASB 26.00.09), issued prior to the permanent modification developed by Airbus Helicopters. EASB 26.00.09 provided procedures for interchanging the squibs on each fire extinguisher. Until this was accomplished, EASB 26.00.09 specified affixing a label on the instrument panel to make the flight crew aware of the crossed connection.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 2 helicopters of U.S. Registry and that labor costs average $85 per work hour. We expect that removing and installing the fire extinguishing system requires 24 work hours and required parts cost $6,367. Based on these estimates, we expect a total cost of $8,407 per helicopter and $16,814 for the U.S. fleet.

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]
Start Amendment Part

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

End Amendment Part

2016-25-28 Airbus Helicopters: Amendment 39-18754; Docket No. FAA-2015-5807; Directorate Identifier 2015-SW-063-AD.

(a) Applicability

This AD applies to Airbus Helicopters Model AS355NP helicopters, certificated in any category, with an Arrius 1A1 fire extinguishing system installed.

(b) Unsafe Condition

This AD defines the unsafe condition as an incorrectly connected fire extinguishing discharge system. This condition could result in the fire extinguishing system discharging to the wrong engine compartment, failure of the fire extinguishing system to contain a fire, and loss of control of the helicopter.

(c) Effective Date

This AD becomes effective January 31, 2017.Start Printed Page 94944

(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 600 hours time-in-service or at the next annual inspection, whichever occurs first, remove and install the fire extinguishing system pipes, and remove any placards on the instrument panel if installed, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 3.B. and 3.B.1 through 3.B.2, of Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin No. AS355-26.00.10, Revision 0, dated July 2, 2015.

Note 1 to paragraph (e) of this AD:

Airbus Helicopters identifies Alert Service Bulletin No. AS355-26.00.10, Revision 0, dated July 2, 2015, as mod 073990.

(f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: George Schwab, 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) Eurocopter Emergency Alert Service Bulletin No. AS-355-26.00.09, Revision 0, dated September 15, 2011, 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 Airbus Helicopters, 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 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 European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No. 2015-0181, dated August 31, 2015. You may view the EASA AD on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov in AD Docket No. FAA-2016-2015-5807.

(h) Subject

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

(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 Alert Service Bulletin No. AS355-26.00.10, Revision 0, dated July 2, 2015.

(ii) Reserved.

(3) For Airbus Helicopters service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus Helicopters, 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, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177. 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 December 8, 2016.

Scott A Horn,

Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2016-30116 Filed 12-23-16; 8:45 am]

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