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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited Helicopters

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited (Bell) Model 429 helicopters. This proposed AD would require adding an identification number to life-limited rod ends that do not have a serial number (S/N). The proposed actions are intended to address an unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by April 18, 2017.

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 by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0078 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 Transport Canada 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 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.

Start Further Info

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:

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

Transport Canada, which is the aviation authority for Canada, has issued AD No. CF-2015-15, dated June 25, 2015, to correct an unsafe condition for Bell Model 429 helicopters, S/Ns 57001 through 57260. Transport Canada advises that, per its regulations, life-limited parts must be marked with their part number (P/N) and S/N. Transport Canada further states that the pylon restraint spring assembly (spring assembly) rod end P/N 427-010-210-105 has a life limit of 5,000 hours; however, it is not serialized, causing difficulties in tracking its accumulated air time. According to Transport Canada, this condition could result in a rod end remaining in service beyond its life limit. Therefore, the Transport Canada AD requires adding identification markings on each spring assembly rod end.

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 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 Under 1 CFR Part 51

Bell Helicopter has issued Alert Service Bulletin 429-15-19, dated February 26, 2015. This service information specifies procedures for permanently marking each forward and aft rod end with the S/N of the spring assembly. This service information Start Printed Page 10977applies to certain serial-numbered helicopters, as subsequent helicopters will have these actions performed during the manufacturing process.

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 Bell Model 429 Maintenance Manual BHT-429-MM-1, Chapter 4, Airworthiness Limitations Schedule, Revision 24, approved June 12, 2015, which specifies airworthiness life limits and inspection intervals for parts installed on Model 429 helicopters.

Proposed AD Requirements

This proposed AD would require cleaning and marking each forward rod end with the S/N of the spring assembly. This proposed AD would also prohibit installing a forward rod end P/N 427-010-210-105 on any helicopter unless it has been marked in accordance with this proposed AD.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 70 helicopters of U.S. Registry.

We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this AD. Labor costs are estimated at $85 per work-hour. Marking the rod ends would take about 0.5 work-hour for a total estimated cost of $43 per helicopter and $3,010 for the U.S. fleet. Replacing a rod end that has exceeded its life limit would take about 3 work-hours and required parts would cost about $4,100 for an estimated replacement cost of $4,355 per rod end.

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 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

  • Air transportation
  • Aircraft
  • Aviation safety
  • Incorporation by reference
  • Safety
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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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Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited: Docket No. FAA-2017-0078; Directorate Identifier 2015-SW-026-AD.

(a) Applicability

This AD applies to Model 429 helicopters, serial number 57001 through 57260, with a pylon restraint spring assembly (spring assembly) forward rod end (rod end) part number (P/N) 427-010-210-105 installed, certificated in any category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

This AD defines the unsafe condition as a rod end remaining in service after reaching its life limit. This condition could result in failure of a rod end and subsequent loss of control of a helicopter.

(c) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by April 18, 2017.

(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 140 hours time-in-service, clean and identify each forward rod end with the spring assembly serial number in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraphs 3 through 5, and 7 through 8, of Bell Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin 429-15-19, dated February 26, 2015.

(2) Do not install a forward rod end P/N 427-010-210-105 on any helicopter unless it has been marked with a serial number in accordance with paragraph (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 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 Model 429 Maintenance Manual BHT-429-MM-1, Chapter 4, Airworthiness Limitations Schedule, Revision 24, approved June 12, 2015, which is not incorporated by reference, contains additional information about the subject of this proposed rule. For service information identified in this proposed 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.

(2) The subject of this AD is addressed in Transport Canada AD No. CF-2015-15 dated June 25, 2015. You may view the Transport Canada AD on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov in the AD Docket.

(h) Subject

Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 5101 Standard Practices/Structures.

Start Signature
Start Printed Page 10978

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on January 30, 2017.

Scott A. Horn,

Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2017-02863 Filed 2-16-17; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P