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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters (Previously Eurocopter France)

Document Details

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

We propose to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2016-25-19 for Airbus Helicopters (previously Eurocopter France) Model AS350B3 and EC130B4 helicopters. AD 2016-25-19 requires inspecting the pilot's and co-pilot's throttle twist for proper operation. This proposed AD would retain the requirements of AD 2016-25-19 and add certain model helicopters to the applicability. The actions of this proposed AD are intended to address the unsafe condition on these helicopters.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by October 9, 2018.

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-2018-0669; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, the economic evaluation, any comments received and other information. The street address for Docket Operations (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 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.helicopters.airbus.com/​website/​en/​ref/​Technical-Support_​73.html. You may review 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:

George Schwab, Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, 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:

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

We issued AD 2016-25-19, Amendment 39-18745 (81 FR 95854, December 29, 2016) (AD 2016-25-19), for Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B3 and EC130B4 helicopters with the ARRIEL 2B1 engine with the two-channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) and with new twist grip modification (MOD) 073254 (for the Model AS350B3 helicopter) or MOD 073773 (for the Model EC130B4 helicopter). AD 2016-25-19 requires repetitively inspecting the wiring, performing an insulation test, inspecting the pilot and copilot throttle twist grip controls, and testing the pilot and copilot throttle twist grip controls for proper functioning. AD 2016-25-19 was prompted by AD No. 2013-0191-E, dated August 22, 2013 (EASA AD 2013-0191-E), issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union. EASA advised that the switches in the engine “IDLE” or “FLIGHT” control system could be affected by the corrosive effects of a salt-laden atmosphere, which could lead to engine power loss. EASA AD 2013-0191-E required repetitive inspections for corrosion, application of corrosion protection on the switches, and testing of the insulation and switches of the engine idle and flight control system. The actions required in AD 2016-25-19 are intended to prevent unintended touchdown to the ground at a flight-idle power setting during a practice autorotation, damage to the helicopter, and injury to occupants.

Actions Since AD 2016-25-19 Was Issued

Since we issued AD 2016-25-19, EASA issued AD No. 2017-0052, dated March 24, 2017, which superseded EASA AD No. 2013-0191-E, dated August 22, 2013. EASA advised that Airbus Helicopters had added Start Printed Page 39008clarifications to the operational procedure, introduced a modification to apply water-tight protection to the microswitch connectors, and extended the applicability to helicopters with a Turbomecca ARRIEL 2D engine installed.

EASA subsequently issued AD No. 2017-0059, dated April 6, 2017, which superseded EASA AD No. 2017-0052 to correct the applicability by including Model EC130T2 helicopters.

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 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

We reviewed one document that co-publishes three Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (EASB) identification numbers: No. 05.00.61, Revision 3, dated June 15, 2015, for Model AS350B3 helicopters; No. 05.00.41, Revision 2, dated June 15, 2015, for the non-FAA type certificated Model AS550C3 helicopter; and No. 05A009, Revision 3, dated June 15, 2015, for Model EC130B4 helicopters. EASB Nos. 05.00.61 and 05A009 are incorporated by reference in AD 2016-25-19 and will be retained for the requirements of this proposed AD. EASB No. 05.00.41 is not incorporated by reference in AD 2016-25-19 and will not be incorporated by reference in this proposed AD. This service information applies to helicopters with an Arriel 2B1 engine installed and describes procedures for a functional check and installation of protection for micro-contacts (microswitches) 53Ka, 53Kb, and 65K (IDLE/FLIGHT mode).

We also reviewed one document that co-publishes three EASB identification numbers: No. 05.00.77, Revision 1, dated June 15, 2015, for Model AS350B3 helicopters; No. 05.00.52, Revision 1, dated June 15, 2015, for the non-FAA type certificated Model AS550C3 helicopter; and No. 05A014, Revision 1, dated June 15, 2015, for Model EC130T2 helicopters. EASB Nos. 05.00.77 and 05A014 will be incorporated by reference in this proposed AD. EASB No. 05.00.52 will not be incorporated by reference in this proposed AD. This service information applies to helicopters with an Arriel 2D engine installed and describes procedures for a check of the protection for micro-contacts (microswitches) 53Ka, 53Kb, and 65K (IDLE/FLIGHT mode).

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.

Proposed AD Requirements

This proposed AD would retain the inspection requirements of AD 2016-25-19 but would add Model AS350B3 helicopters with an Arriel 2D engine installed and Model EC130T2 helicopters.

Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD

The EASA AD requires the initial inspections within 10 flight hours or 7 days; this proposed AD requires compliance before the next autorotation training flight or before 100 hours time-in-service, whichever occurs earlier, as the unsafe condition only occurs when transitioning the throttle in flight from flight to idle and back to flight, such as during a practice autorotation.

Additionally, the EASA AD requires installing Airbus Helicopters modification 074263; this proposed AD does not as it does not correct the unsafe condition.

Interim Action

We consider this proposed 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 proposed AD would affect 692 helicopters of U.S. Registry.

We estimate that operators will incur the following costs in order to comply with this proposed AD. At an average labor rate of $85 per work hour, it would take about 4 work hours for the inspections and any necessary maintenance, for a total cost of $340 per helicopter and $235,280 for the U.S. fleet per inspection cycle.

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
End List of Subjects

The Proposed Amendment

Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

Start Part

PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

End Part Start Amendment Part

1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

End Authority
[Amended]
Start Amendment Part

2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2016-25-19, Amendment 39-18745 ( 81 FR 95854, December 29, 2016), and adding the following new AD:

End Amendment Part Start Printed Page 39009

Airbus Helicopters (Previously Eurocopter France): Docket No. FAA-2018-0669; Product Identifier 2017-SW-041-AD.

(a) Applicability

This AD applies to the following helicopters, certificated in any category:

(1) Model AS350B3 helicopters with an ARRIEL 2B1 engine with the two-channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) and with new twist grip modification (MOD) 073254 or with an ARRIEL 2D engine installed;

(2) Model EC130B4 helicopters with an ARRIEL 2B1 engine with the two-channel FADEC and with new twist grip MOD 073773 installed; and

(3) Model EC130T2 helicopters with an ARRIEL 2D engine installed.

(b) Unsafe Condition

This AD defines the unsafe condition as failure of one of the two contactors, 53Ka or 53Kb, which can prevent switching from “IDLE” mode to “FLIGHT” mode during autorotation training making it impossible to recover from a practice autorotation and compelling the pilot to continue the autorotation to the ground. This condition could result in unintended touchdown to the ground at a flight-idle power setting during a practice autorotation, damage to the helicopter, and injury to occupants.

(c) Affected ADs

This AD replaces AD 2016-25-19, Amendment 39-18745 (81 FR 95854, December 29, 2016).

(d) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by October 9, 2018.

(e) 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.

(f) Required Actions

(1) Before the next practice autorotation or within 100 hours time-in-service (TIS), whichever occurs first, inspect the wiring, perform an insulation test, inspect the pilot and copilot throttle twist grip controls, and test the pilot and copilot throttle twist grip controls for proper functioning by following the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 3.B.1 through 3.B.6, of Airbus Helicopters Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (EASB) No. 05.00.61, Revision 3, dated June 15, 2015, for Model AS350B3 helicopters with an ARRIEL 2B1 engine; EASB No. 05.00.77, Revision 1, dated June 15, 2015, for Model AS350B3 helicopters with an ARRIEL 2D engine; EASB No. 05A009, Revision 3, dated June 15, 2015, for Model EC130B4 helicopters; or EASB No. 05A014, Revision 1, dated June 15, 2015, for Model EC130T2 helicopters, as appropriate for your model helicopter.

(2) Repeat the inspections in paragraph (f)(1) of this AD at intervals not to exceed the following compliance times. For purposes of this AD, salt laden conditions exist when a helicopter performs a flight from a takeoff and landing area, heliport, or airport less than 0.5 statute mile from salt water or performs a flight within 0.5 statute mile from salt water below an altitude of 1,000 ft. above ground or sea level.

(i) For helicopters that have operated in salt laden conditions since the previous inspection required by this AD, at intervals not to exceed 330 hours TIS.

(ii) For helicopters that have not operated in salt laden conditions since the previous inspection required by this AD, at intervals not to exceed 660 hours TIS.

(g) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: George Schwab, Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, Texas 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.

(h) Additional Information

The subject of this AD is addressed in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No. 2017-0059, dated April 6, 2017. You may view the EASA AD on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov in the AD Docket.

(i) Subject

Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 7697 Engine Control System Wiring.

Start Signature

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on July 11, 2018.

Scott A. Horn,

Deputy Director for Regulatory Operations, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2018-16494 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am]

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