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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 adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Airbus Helicopters Model EC 155B, EC155B1, SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2, and AS 365 N3 helicopters, as identified in a European Aviation Safety Agency (now European Union Aviation Safety Agency) (EASA) AD. This proposed AD was prompted by a report of an in-flight loss of engine and main gearbox (MGB) cowlings. This proposed AD would require inspecting the MGB fixed cowling front fitting (MGB front fitting), and depending on findings, corrective action. This proposed AD would also require a new modification, which would constitute a terminating action for the inspection. These proposed AD requirements are as specified in an EASA AD, which is proposed for incorporation by reference (IBR). The FAA is proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by April 19, 2021.

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.

For material that is proposed for IBR in this AD, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 8999 000; email ADs@easa.europa.eu; internet www.easa.europa.eu. You may find this material on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu. You may view this material at the 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. It is also available in the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-1183.

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-2020-1183; 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 NPRM, 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:

Blaine Williams, Aerospace Engineer, Los Angles ACO Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, 3960 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, California 90712; telephone 562-627-5371; email blaine.williams@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 ADDRESSES. Include “Docket No. FAA-2020-1183; Project Identifier 2019-SW-008-AD” at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. The FAA will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposal because of those comments.

Except for Confidential Business Information (CBI) as described in the following paragraph, and other Start Printed Page 12863information as described in 14 CFR 11.35, the FAA will post all comments received, without change, to https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. The agency will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact received about this proposal.

Confidential Business Information

CBI is commercial or financial information that is both customarily and actually treated as private by its owner. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), CBI is exempt from public disclosure. If your comments responsive to this NPRM contain commercial or financial information that is customarily treated as private, that you actually treat as private, and that is relevant or responsive to this NPRM, it is important that you clearly designate the submitted comments as CBI. Please mark each page of your submission containing CBI as “PROPIN.” The FAA will treat such marked submissions as confidential under the FOIA, and they will not be placed in the public docket of this NPRM. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to Blaine Williams, Aerospace Engineer, Los Angeles ACO Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, 3960 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, California 90712; telephone 562-627-5371; email blaine.williams@faa.gov. Any commentary that the FAA receives that is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket for this rulemaking.

Discussion

The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2019-0008, dated January 22, 2019 (EASA AD 2019-0008), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Airbus Helicopters (AH), formerly Eurocopter, Eurocopter France, Aerospatiale, Model EC 155 B, EC 155 B1, SA 365 N, SA 365 N1, AS 365 N2, and AS 365 N3 helicopters.

This proposed AD was prompted by reports of an in-flight loss of engine and MGB cowlings. Subsequent investigations revealed that the MGB cowling attachment fittings failed because of mounting stress in the MGB front fitting and air intake bulkhead. The FAA is proposing this AD to address failure of the MGB front fitting and subsequent detachment of the MGB or engine cowlings. See EASA AD 2019-0008 for additional background information.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

EASA AD 2019-0008 requires inspecting the MGB front fittings within 110 flight hours after April 14, 2017 (the effective date of EASA AD 2017-0055, dated March 31, 2017). If there is a discrepancy, the EASA AD requires applicable corrective action(s) before next flight. EASA AD 2019-0008 also requires modification of the MGB fixed cowling attachments within 660 flight hours or 23 months, whichever occurs first, after the effective date described in EASA AD 2019-0008. Accomplishing the modification constitutes a terminating action for the required inspection.

The FAA also reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. AS365-53.00.62 and EC155-53A038, each Revision 0 and dated December 20, 2018 (ASB AS365-53.00.62 and ASB EC155-53A038). ASB AS365-53.00.62 applies to Model AS365-series helicopters. ASB EC155-53A038 applies to Model EC155-series helicopters. This service information specifies replacing the front bracket, inspecting for stress of the MGB fixed cowlings on the radiator bulkhead, and installing an additional locking system.

This material 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.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

These products have been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to the bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority, the FAA has been notified of the unsafe condition described in the EASA AD referenced above. The FAA is proposing this AD after evaluating all the relevant information and determining the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of these same type designs.

Proposed AD Requirements

This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified in EASA AD 2019-0008, described previously, as incorporated by reference, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of this proposed AD and except as discussed under “Differences Between this Proposed AD and the EASA AD.”

Explanation of Required Compliance Information

In the FAA's ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency of the AD process, the FAA initially worked with Airbus and EASA to develop a process to use certain EASA ADs as the primary source of information for compliance with requirements for corresponding FAA ADs. The FAA has since coordinated with other manufacturers and civil aviation authorities (CAAs) to use this process. As a result, EASA AD 2019-0008 will be incorporated by reference in the FAA final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2019-0008 in its entirety, through that incorporation, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of this proposed AD. Using common terms that are the same as the heading of a particular section in the EASA AD does not mean that operators need comply only with that section. For example, where the AD requirement refers to “all required actions and compliance times,” compliance with this AD requirement is not limited to the section titled “Required Action(s) and Compliance Time(s)” in the EASA AD. Service information specified in EASA AD 2019-0008 that is required for compliance with EASA AD 2019-0008 will be available on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-1183 after the FAA final rule is published.

Costs of Compliance

The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 19 helicopters of U.S. Registry. Labor rates are estimated at $85 per work-hour. Based on these numbers, the FAA estimates that operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this proposed AD.

Inspecting the MGB front fittings would take about 2 work-hours for an estimated cost of $170 per helicopter and $3,230 for the U.S. fleet. If required, replacing an MGB front fitting would take about 2 work-hours and parts would cost about $590 for an estimated total cost of $760 per fitting. Other repairs could take up to 8 work-hours (excluding drying time) and parts would cost a minimal amount for an estimated cost of up to $680 per helicopter.

Modifying the MGB fixed cowling attachments would take about 5 work-hours and parts would cost about $630 for an estimated cost of $1,055 per helicopter and $20,045 for the U.S. fleet.Start Printed Page 12864

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 because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

Regulatory Findings

The FAA 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 this 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 adding the following new airworthiness directive:

End Amendment Part

Airbus Helicopters: Docket No. FAA-2020-1183; Project Identifier 2019-SW-008-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

The FAA must receive comments by April 19, 2021.

(b) Affected Airworthiness Directives (ADs)

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to Airbus Helicopters Model EC 155B, EC155B1, SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2, and AS 365 N3 helicopters, certificated in any category, as identified in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2019-0008, dated January 22, 2019 (EASA AD 2019-0008).

(d) Subject

Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC) Code: 7110, Engine Cowling System.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by a report of an in-flight loss of main gearbox (MGB) and engine cowlings. The FAA is issuing this AD to address a failure of the MGB fixed cowling front fitting, and subsequent MGB cowling or engine cowling detachment, which could result in damage to the helicopter, loss of helicopter control, and possible injury to persons on the ground.

(f) Compliance

Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done.

(g) Requirements

Except as specified in paragraph (h) of this AD: Comply with all required actions and compliance times specified in, and in accordance with, EASA AD 2019-0008.

(h) Exceptions to EASA AD 2019-0008

(1) Where EASA AD 2019-0008 refers to April 14, 2017 (the effective date of EASA AD 2017-0055, dated March 31, 2017), this AD requires using the effective date of this AD.

(2) Where EASA AD 2019-0008 refers to its effective date, this AD requires using the effective date of this AD.

(3) Where EASA AD 2019-0008 refers to flight hours (FH), this AD requires using hours time-in-service.

(4) Where EASA AD 2019-0008 requires the modification within 660 flight hours or 23 months, whichever occurs first, this AD requires the modification within 660 hours time-in-service instead.

(5) Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2019-0008 specifies to discard certain parts, this AD requires removing those parts from service instead.

(6) Where the service information referenced in EASA AD 2019-0008 specifies to use tooling, equivalent tooling may be used.

(7) The “Remarks” section of EASA AD 2019-0008 does not apply to this AD.

(8) Where paragraph (1) states to, “inspect the MGB fixed cowling front fittings in accordance with the instructions of paragraph 1.E.2 of the applicable inspection ASB or in accordance with the instructions of the applicable modification ASB,” this AD requires determining if Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin No. 53.00.55, Revision 0, dated March 13, 2017, or Revision 1, dated December 20, 2018, has or has not been complied with and following the instructions, “For helicopters on which ALERT SERVICE BULLETIN No. 53.00.55 has not been complied with” or “For helicopters on which ALERT SERVICE BULLETIN No. 53.00.55 has been complied with,” as applicable, in paragraph 1.E.2, of Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin No. AS365-53.00.62 or EC155-53A038, each Revision 0 and dated December 20, 2018 (ASB AS365-53.00.62 or ASB EC155-53A038), as applicable to your model helicopter.

(9) Where paragraph (2) of EASA AD 2019-0008 states to, “accomplish the applicable corrective action(s) in accordance with paragraph 1.E.2 of the applicable inspection ASB or in accordance with the instructions of the applicable modification ASB,” this AD requires accomplishing the applicable corrective actions by following ASB AS365-53.00.62 or ASB EC155-53A038, as applicable to your model helicopter.

(10) Where paragraph 3.B.2.e.3 of the applicable modification ASB referenced in EASA AD 2019-0008 refers to paragraph 3.B.e.3, this AD requires referring to paragraph 3.B.3 of ASB AS365-53.00.62 or ASB EC155-53A038, as applicable to your model helicopter.

(i) Special Flight Permit

Special flight permits, as described in 14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199, are not allowed.

(j) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

The Manager, Strategic Policy Rotorcraft Section, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Manager, Strategic Policy Rotorcraft Section, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5110; email 9-ASW-FTW-AMOC-Requests@faa.gov.

(k) Related Information

(1) For EASA AD 2019-0008 contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 8999 000; email ADs@easa.europa.eu; internet www.easa.europa.eu. You may find this EASA AD on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu. You may view this material at the 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. This material may be found in the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-1183.

(2) For more information about this AD, contact Blaine Williams, Aerospace Engineer, Los Angeles ACO Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, 3960 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, California 90712; telephone Start Printed Page 12865562-627-5227; email blaine.williams@faa.gov.

Start Signature

Issued on January 25, 2021.

Gaetano A. Sciortino,

Deputy Director for Strategic Initiatives, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2021-03689 Filed 3-4-21; 8:45 am]

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