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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

The FAA proposes to remove Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2015-17-01, which applies to certain Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350C, AS350D, AS350D1, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters. AD 2015-17-01 requires certain inspections of each tail rotor pitch horn assembly (pitch horn) for a crack, replacement of a cracked pitch horn, and a repetitive visual inspection of certain pitch horns. AD 2015-17-01 is no longer necessary because the cause of the unsafe condition has been removed from all affected helicopter models. Accordingly, the FAA proposes to remove AD 2015-17-01.

DATES:

The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by July 27, 2020.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Fax: 202-493-2251.
  • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.
  • Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

You may view this service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, Start Printed Page 3581510101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-0463; 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 proposal, any comments received, and other information. The street address for Docket Operations is listed above. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

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:

Comments Invited

The FAA invites you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2020-0463; Product Identifier 2013-SW-041-AD” at the beginning of your comments. The FAA specifically invites comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this NPRM. The FAA will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this NPRM because of those comments.

The FAA will post all comments received, without change, to https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. The FAA will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact received about this NPRM.

Discussion

The FAA issued AD 2015-17-01, Amendment 39-18234 (80 FR 50554, August 20, 2015) (“AD 2015-17-01”), for certain Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350C, AS350D, AS350D1, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters. AD 2015-17-01 requires certain inspections of each pitch horn for a crack, repetitive visual inspections of certain pitch horns for a crack, replacing a cracked pitch horn before further flight, and before installing any pitch horn having part number 350A121368 with more than 0 hours time-in-service, dye-penetrant inspecting it for a crack. AD 2015-17-01 was prompted by a report of a crack in the yoke of a pitch horn and is intended to detect a crack in the pitch horn to prevent failure of the pitch horn, loss of the anti-torque function, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. The FAA issued AD 2015-17-01 to detect a crack in the pitch horn to prevent failure of the pitch horn, loss of the anti-torque function, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

Actions Since AD 2015-17-01 Was Issued

Since issuing AD 2015-17-01, the FAA has determined that the chin weights installed per Airbus Modification 07 5601 (that caused the pitch horn to crack) can only be installed on Model AS350B3 helicopters. The FAA had previously issued AD 2014-05-10, Amendment 39-17783 (79 FR 17408, March 28, 2014), which requires Model AS350B3 helicopters to remove the chin weights. The FAA has determined that with the chin weights removed, the unsafe condition no longer exists on Model AS350 and AS355 helicopters.

FAA's Conclusions

Upon further consideration, the FAA has determined that AD 2015-17-01 is no longer necessary. Accordingly, this proposed AD would remove AD 2015-17-01. Removal of AD 2015-17-01 would not preclude the FAA from issuing another related action or commit the FAA to any course of action in the future.

Related Costs of Compliance

This proposed AD would add no cost. This proposed AD would remove AD 2015-17-01 from 14 CFR part 39; therefore, operators would no longer be required to show compliance with that AD.

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.

The FAA is 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.

Regulatory Findings

The FAA has 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 above, I certify that the proposed regulation:

(1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866,

(2) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and

(3) 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

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) 2015-17-01, Amendment 39-18234 ( 80 FR 50554, August 20, 2015), and adding the following new AD:

End Amendment Part

Airbus Helicopters: Docket No. FAA-2020-0463; Product Identifier 2013-SW-041-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

The FAA must receive comments on this AD action by July 27, 2020.

(b) Affected ADs

This AD replaces AD 2015-17-01, Amendment 39-18234 (80 FR 50554, August 20, 2015).

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350C, AS350D, AS350D1, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters with tail rotor hub pitch horn (pitch horn) assembly, part number (P/N) 350A121368.01, Start Printed Page 35816350A121368.02, 350A121368.03, or 350A121368.04, with a pitch horn, P/N 350A121368.XX, where XX stands for a two-digit dash number, installed, certificated in any category. The pitch horn may be marked with either the pitch horn assembly P/N or pitch horn P/N.

(d) Related Information

For more information about this AD, 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.

Start Signature

Issued on May 29, 2020.

Lance T. Gant,

Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2020-12029 Filed 6-11-20; 8:45 am]

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