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Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters (Previously Eurocopter France) Helicopters

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2016-25-19 for Airbus Helicopters (previously Eurocopter France) Model AS350B3 and EC130B4 helicopters. AD 2016-25-19 required inspecting the pilot's and co-pilot's throttle twist for proper operation. This new AD retains the requirements of AD 2016-25-19 and adds certain model helicopters to the applicability. The actions of this AD are intended to address an unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective January 30, 2019.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of January 30, 2019.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain other publications listed in this AD as of February 2, 2017 (81 FR 95854, December 29, 2016).

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 the review 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-2018-0669.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov in 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 AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, any incorporated-by-reference service 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:

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:

Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to remove AD 2016-25-19, Amendment 39-18745 (81 FR 95854, December 29, 2016) (AD 2016-25-19) and add a new AD. AD 2016-25-19 applied to Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B3 and EC130B4 helicopters with an 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 required 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. The actions required in AD 2016-25-19 were 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.

The NPRM published in the Federal Register on August 8, 2018 (83 FR 39007). The NPRM proposed to retain the requirements of AD 2016-25-19 and expand the applicability by adding Model AS350B3 helicopters with an ARRIEL 2D engine installed and Model EC130T2 helicopters with an ARRIEL 2D engine installed.

The NPRM was prompted by AD No. 2017-0059, dated April 6, 2017 (EASA AD 2017-0059), issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, for Airbus Helicopters Model AS 350 B3, EC 130 B4, and EC 130 T2 helicopters. EASA advises that Airbus Helicopters added clarifications to the operational procedure, introduced a modification to apply water-tight protection to the microswitch connectors, and extended the applicability to helicopters with a Turbomeca ARRIEL 2D engine installed. Accordingly, EASA AD 2017-0059 retains the required actions and corrects the applicability of the previous EASA AD.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD, but we did not receive any comments on the NPRM.

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 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 Start Printed Page 66094safety and the public interest require adopting the AD requirements as proposed.

Interim Action

We consider this AD to be an interim action. If final action is later identified, we might consider further rulemaking then.

Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD

The EASA AD requires the initial inspections within 10 flight hours or 7 days; this 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 MOD 074263; this AD does not as it does not correct the unsafe condition.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed one document that co-publishes three Airbus Helicopters 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 are retained for the requirements of this AD. EASB No. 05.00.41 is not incorporated by reference in AD 2016-25-19 and is not incorporated by reference in this 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 Airbus Helicopters 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 are incorporated by reference in this AD. EASB No. 05.00.52 is not incorporated by reference in this 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.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 692 helicopters of U.S. Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this AD.

At an average labor rate of $85 per work-hour, it takes 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 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, 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) 2016-25-19, Amendment 39-18745 ( 81 FR 95854, December 29, 2016), and adding the following new AD:

End Amendment Part

2018-26-02 Airbus Helicopters (Previously Eurocopter France): Amendment 39-19532; 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) Effective Date

This AD becomes effective January 30, 2019.Start Printed Page 66095

(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 Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 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 Docket No. FAA-2018-0669.

(i) Subject

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

(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 January 30, 2019.

(i) Airbus Helicopters Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (EASB) No. 05.00.77, Revision 1, dated June 15, 2015.

(ii) Airbus Helicopters EASB No. 05A014, Revision 1, dated June 15, 2015.

Note 1 to paragraph (j)(3): Airbus Helicopters EASB Nos. 05.00.77 and 05A014, both Revision 1 and dated June 15, 2015, are co-published as one document along with Airbus Helicopters EASB No. 05.00.52, Revision 1, dated June 15, 2015, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

(4) The following service information was approved for IBR on February 2, 2017 (81 FR 95854, December 29, 2016).

(i) Airbus Helicopters EASB No. 05.00.61, Revision 3, dated June 15, 2015.

(ii) Airbus Helicopters EASB No. 05A009, Revision 3, dated June 15, 2015.

Note 2 to paragraph (j)(4): Airbus Helicopters EASB Nos. 05.00.61 and 05A009, both Revision 3 and dated June 15, 2015, are co-published as one document along with Airbus Helicopters EASB No. 05.00.41, Revision 2, dated June 15, 2015, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

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

(6) 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.

(7) 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 13, 2018.

Scott A. Horn,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2018-27715 Filed 12-21-18; 8:45 am]

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