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Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Helicopters (Type Certificate Previously Held by Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH)

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are revising Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2014-05-06 for Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH Model EC135 and MBB-BK 117C-2 helicopters. AD 2014-05-06 required repetitive inspections of the flight-control bearings, replacing any loose bearings with airworthy flight-control bearings, and installing bushings and washers. This new AD retains the requirements of AD 2014-05-06 but removes the repetitive inspections. The actions of this AD are intended to correct an unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective January 22, 2019.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of April 14, 2014 (79 FR 13196, March 10, 2014).

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.helicopters.airbus.com/​website/​en/​ref/​Technical-Support_​73.html. You may view this 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-2013-0555.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FAA-2013-0555; 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 AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, any incorporated-by-reference information, the economic evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for Docket Operations (phone: 800-647-5527) is Docket Operations, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Matt Fuller, Senior Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email matthew.fuller@faa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to remove AD 2014-05-06, Amendment 39-17779 (79 FR 13196, March 10, 2014) (AD 2014-05-06) and add a new AD. AD 2014-05-06 applied to certain Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH Model EC135 and MBB-BK 117C-2 helicopters. The NPRM was published in the Federal Register on June 1, 2018 (83 FR 25415). AD 2014-05-06 required repetitive inspections of the flight-control bearings, replacing any loose bearings with airworthy flight-control bearings, and installing bushings and washers. The NPRM proposed to retain the requirements of AD 2014-05-06 but remove the repetitive inspection requirements.

AD 2014-05-06 was prompted by AD No. 2010-0058, dated March 30, 2010 (EASA AD 2010-0058), issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, to correct an unsafe condition for Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH (now Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH) Model EC135, EC635, and MBB-BK 117C-2 helicopters. EASA advises that during an inspection of an MBB-BK117 C-2, “bearings were detected which had not been correctly fixed.” EASA advises that this condition, if not detected and corrected, may cause the affected control lever to shift in the axial direction and contact the helicopter structure, possibly resulting in reduced helicopter control. As some bearings on the EC135 and MBB-BK 117C-2 helicopter are installed with the same procedure, they are equally affected by the possibility of the unsafe condition, EASA advises.

Since we published AD 2014-05-06, EASA issued AD No. 2010-0058R1, dated April 7, 2017, to remove the repetitive inspections required by EASA AD 2010-0058. EASA advises that a review of data and feedback from in-service helicopters determined the Airbus Helicopters modification removes the need for repetitive inspections. We have made a similar determination and are issuing this AD to remove the repetitive inspections previously required by AD 2014-05-06.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD, but we received no comments on the NPRM.

FAA's Determination

These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of Germany and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral Start Printed Page 64735agreement with Germany, EASA, its technical representative, has notified us of the unsafe condition described in the EASA AD. We have reviewed the relevant information and determined that an 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.

Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD

Differences between this AD and the EASA AD are:

  • The EASA AD is applicable to EC 635-series helicopters, whereas this AD is not because these model helicopters have no U.S. type certificate.
  • The EASA AD requires the modification within the next 12 months after April 13, 2010. This AD requires the modification within 100 hours TIS or at the next annual inspection, whichever occurs first.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

Eurocopter issued Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) EC135-67A-019, Revision 3, dated December 16, 2009, for Model EC135-series helicopters, and ASB MBB-BK117 C-2-67A-010, Revision 3, dated February 8, 2010, for Model MBB-BK 117C-2 helicopters. This service information specifies a repetitive inspection of the affected bearings and retrofitting bushings on the levers to prevent movement of the bearings.

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 reviewed Airbus Helicopters ASB EC135-67A-019 for Model EC135-series helicopters and ASB MBB-BK117C-2-67A-010 for Model MBB-BK 117C-2 helicopters, both Revision 4 and both dated April 3, 2017. This service information removes the repetitive inspections and retains the procedures for retrofitting the bushings on the levers to prevent movement of the bearings. Revision 3 of this service information is attached as an appendix to Revision 4.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 295 Model EC135-series helicopters and 117 Model MBB-BK 117C-2 helicopters of U.S. Registry and that labor costs average $85 per work-hour. Based on these estimates, we expect the following costs:

  • For EC135 helicopters, completing the required modification requires about 32 work-hours and parts cost about $312, for a total cost of $3,032 per helicopter and $894,440 for the U.S. fleet.
  • For MBB-BK 117C-2 helicopters, completing the required modification requires about 32 work-hours and parts cost about $396, for a total cost of $3,116 per helicopter and $364,572 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 products identified in this rulemaking action.

Regulatory Findings

We have 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 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.

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:

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) 2014-05-06, Amendment 39-17779 ( 79 FR 13196, March 10, 2014), and adding the following new AD:

End Amendment Part

2014-05-06 R1 Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH (Type Certificate Previously Held by Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH): Amendment 39-19529; Docket No. FAA-2013-0555; Product Identifier 2010-SW-047-AD.

(a) Applicability

This AD applies to the following Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH (Type Certificate previously held by Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH) helicopters, certificated in any category:

(1) Model EC135 P1, P2, P2+, T1, T2, and T2+ helicopters, serial number (S/N) 0005 through 00829, with a tail rotor control lever, part number (P/N) L672M2802205 or L672M1012212; cyclic control lever, P/N L671M1005250; collective control lever assembly, P/N L671M2020108; or collective control plate, P/N L671M5040207; installed, and

(2) Model MBB-BK 117C-2 helicopters,S/N 9004 through 9310, with a tail rotor control lever assembly, P/N B672M1007101 or B672M1807101; tail rotor control lever, P/N B672M1002202 or L672M2802205; or lateral control lever assembly, P/N B670M1008101, installed.

(b) Unsafe Condition

This AD defines the unsafe condition as incorrectly installed flight control bearings. This condition could cause the affected control lever to shift and contact the helicopter structure, resulting in reduced control of the helicopter.

(c) Effective Date

This AD becomes effective January 22, 2019.

(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.Start Printed Page 64736

(e) Required Actions

(1) For Model EC135 P1, P2, P2+, T1, T2, and T2+ helicopters: Within the next 100 hours time-in-service (TIS) or at the next annual inspection, whichever occurs first, modify the left-hand (LH) and right-hand (RH) guidance units and the cyclic shaft by installing bushings and washers to prevent shifting of the bearings in the axial direction as follows:

(i) Remove and disassemble the LH guidance unit and install a bushing, P/N L672M1012260, between the bearing block and the lever of the LH guidance unit as depicted in Detail A of Figure 5 of Eurocopter Alert Service Bulletin EC135-67A-019, Revision 3, dated December 16, 2009 (EC135 ASB).

(ii) For helicopters without a yaw brake, remove and disassemble the RH guidance unit and install a bushing, P/N L672M1012260, between the bearing block and the lever as depicted in Detail B of Figure 5 of EC135 ASB.

(iii) Remove and disassemble the cyclic shaft and install a washer, P/N L671M1005260, between the bearing block and the lever as depicted in Detail C of Figure 6 of EC135 ASB.

(iv) Remove the collective control rod from the bellcrank and install a washer, P/N L221M1042208, on each side of the collective control rod and bellcrank as depicted in Detail D of Figure 6 of EC135 ASB.

(2) For Model MBB-BK 117C-2 helicopters: Within the next 100 hours TIS or at the next annual inspection, whichever occurs first, modify the LH and RH guidance units and the lateral control lever by installing bushings and washers to prevent shifting of the bearings in the axial direction as follows:

(i) Remove and disassemble the RH guidance unit and install a bushing, P/N L672M1012260, between the lever and the bracket as depicted in Detail B of Figure 4 of Eurocopter Alert Service Bulletin MBB BK117 C-2-67A-010, Revision 3, dated February 8, 2010 (BK117 ASB). Remove and disassemble the LH guidance unit and install a bushing, P/N L672M1012260, between the lever and the bracket as depicted in Detail C of Figure 4 of BK117 ASB.

(ii) Remove the lateral control lever and install new bushings in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraphs 3.C(9)(a) through 3.C(9)(g) of BK117 ASB.

(iii) Identify the modified lever assembly by writing “MBB BK117 C-2-67A-010” on the lever with permanent marking pen and protect with a single layer of lacquer (CM 421 or equivalent).

(iv) Apply corrosion preventive paste (CM518 or equivalent) on the shank of the screws and install airworthy parts as depicted in Figure 5 of BK117 ASB.

(f) Affected ADs

This AD replaces AD 2014-05-06, Amendment 39-17779 (79 FR 13196, March 10, 2014).

(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: Matt Fuller, Senior Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, 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.

(h) Additional Information

(1) Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin EC135-67A-019 and Alert Service Bulletin MBB-BK117C-2-67A-010, both Revision 4 and both dated April 3, 2017, which are not incorporated by reference, contain additional information about this AD. For 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.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.

(2) The subject of this AD is addressed in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No. 2010-0058R1, dated April 7, 2017. You may view the EASA AD on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FAA-2013-0555.

(i) Subject

Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6710, Main Rotor Control.

(j) Material Incorporated by Reference

(1) The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference (IBR) 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.

(3) The following service information was approved for IBR on April 14, 2014 (79 FR 13196, March 10, 2014).

(i) Eurocopter Alert Service Bulletin EC135-67A-019, Revision 3, dated December 16, 2009.

(ii) Eurocopter Alert Service Bulletin MBB BK117 C-2-67A-010, Revision 3, dated February 8, 2010.

(4) For Eurocopter 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.helicopters.airbus.com/​website/​en/​ref/​Technical-Support_​73.html.

(5) 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.

(6) 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 6, 2018.

Scott A. Horn,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2018-27137 Filed 12-17-18; 8:45 am]

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