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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM).

SUMMARY:

The FAA is revising a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that applied to certain Airbus Helicopters Model EC225LP helicopters. This action revises the NPRM by revising the required actions paragraph such that the required actions apply to all helicopter models specified in the applicability. The FAA is proposing this airworthiness directive (AD) to address the unsafe condition on these products. Since these actions would impose an additional burden over those in the NPRM, the agency is requesting comments on this SNPRM.

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DATES:

The FAA must receive comments on this SNPRM by June 24, 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 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For service information identified in this SNPRM, 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 https://www.airbus.com/​helicopters/​services/​technical-support.html. You may view this service information 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.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-0904; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains the NPRM, this SNPRM, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, any comments received, and other information. The street address for Docket Operations is listed above.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

James Blyn, Aviation Safety Engineer, Strategic Policy Emerging Aircraft Section, Policy and Innovation Division, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email james.blyn@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-2020-0904; Product Identifier 2019-SW-041-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 again revise this proposal because of those comments.

Except for Confidential Business Information (CBI) as described in the following paragraph, and other information 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 proposed AD.

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 SNPRM 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 SNPRM, 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 SNPRM. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to James Blyn, Aviation Safety Engineer, Strategic Policy Emerging Aircraft Section, Policy and Innovation Division, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email james.blyn@faa.gov. Any commentary that the FAA receives which is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket for this rulemaking.

Background

The FAA issued an NPRM to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to Airbus Helicopters Model EC225LP helicopters, with left-hand side (LH) engine fuel supply (fuel supply) hose part number (P/N) 704A34416087 installed. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on October 7, 2020, (85 FR 63235). For helicopters delivered to the first operator before November 30, 2018, and for helicopters delivered to the first operator on or after November 30, 2018, that have had the LH fuel supply hose replaced or reinstalled before May 10, 2019, the NPRM proposed to require visually inspecting the LH fuel supply hose for twisting, and if needed, borescope inspecting the entire length of the inside of the fuel supply hose for twisting. Depending on the inspection results, the NPRM proposed to require reinstalling or removing the fuel supply hose from service. Additionally, the NPRM proposed to prohibit installing a certain part-numbered LH fuel supply hose on any helicopter unless that LH fuel supply hose is installed by following certain procedures specified in the manufacturer's service bulletin. The proposed requirements were intended to prevent a decrease of the LH engine power when accelerating to a power setting corresponding to One Engine Inoperative (OEI) power and subsequent reduced control of the helicopter. The NPRM was prompted by EASA AD 2019-0092, dated April 26, 2019 (EASA AD 2019-0092), issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) Model EC 225 LP helicopters, all serial numbers. EASA advises that an occurrence was reported where during an in-flight single engine power check, the LH side engine experienced a power loss. EASA states that a subsequent investigation determined that the fuel flow to the affected engine was restricted by a twisted fuel supply hose. EASA states that this condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to a decrease of the LH engine power when accelerating to the power setting corresponding to OEI power, and subsequent reduced control of the helicopter. Accordingly, the EASA AD requires a one-time visual inspection of the fuel supply hose and depending on the inspection results, removing from service or replacing the affected part. EASA also introduces re-installation requirements for a fuel supply hose that is being replaced or reinstalled.

Actions Since the NPRM Was Issued

Since the NPRM was issued, the FAA determined that operators may not have the information required to comply with the required actions proposed in the NPRM. Operators may not know the date the helicopter was delivered to the first operator. Additionally, operators may not know whether the LH fuel supply hose has been previously removed or reinstalled since the maintenance regulations do not require certain operators to maintain these records after one year. Accordingly, the FAA has determined the proposed paragraph (e)(1) of the NPRM must be revised by deleting the language referring to delivery dates and dates of LH fuel supply hose replacement or Start Printed Page 24785reinstallation. As a result of these changes, all helicopters specified in the applicability paragraph would be required to comply with the required actions in this proposed AD. Also, since the NPRM was issued, the FAA has determined that a limit on special flight permits is required. This SNPRM reflects this change that special flight permits may be permitted provided that there are no passengers on board.

Comments

The FAA received no comments on the NPRM or on the determination of the cost.

FAA's Determination

These helicopters have been approved by EASA and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to the FAA's bilateral agreement with the European Union, EASA has notified the FAA about the unsafe condition described in its AD. The FAA is proposing this AD after determining the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other helicopters of these same type designs. Certain changes described above expand the scope of the NPRM. As a result, it is necessary to reopen the comment period to provide additional opportunity for the public to comment on this SNPRM.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin No. EC225-71A019, Revision 1, dated February 28, 2019, which specifies procedures for removing the fuel supply hose from the LH power plant, visually inspecting the fuel supply hose for twisting, and depending on inspection results, performing an endoscope inspection on the inside of the hose. This service information also specifies procedures required to install a serviceable fuel supply hose.

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 in This SNPRM

For helicopters with a certain part-numbered LH fuel supply hose installed, this proposed AD would require visually inspecting the LH fuel supply hose for twisting, and if needed, borescope inspecting the entire length of the inside of the fuel supply hose for twisting. Depending on the inspection results, this proposed AD would require reinstalling or removing the fuel supply hose from service. Additionally, this proposed AD would prohibit installing a certain part-numbered LH fuel supply hose on any helicopter unless that LH fuel supply hose is installed by following certain procedures described in the manufacturer's service bulletin.

Differences Between This SNPRM and the EASA AD

The EASA AD requires compliance within 110 flight hours or 6 months, whichever occurs first, while this proposed AD would require compliance within 110 hours time-in-service after the effective date of this AD. The EASA AD requires reporting information to Airbus Helicopters if the LH fuel supply hose is twisted on the inside, while this proposed AD would not. Additionally, the EASA AD is applicable to certain aircraft delivered to the first operator prior to 30 Nov 2018, and also to certain aircraft in which the affected part or LH engine were not replaced or reinstalled before the effective date of the EASA AD, whereas this proposed AD would apply to EC225LP helicopters with a certain LH fuel supply hose installed, because operators might not know when the helicopter was first delivered or what maintenance was previously performed.

Costs of Compliance

The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would affect 28 helicopters of U.S. Registry. Labor rates are estimated at $85 per work-hour. Based on these numbers, the FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this proposed AD.

Visually inspecting the LH fuel supply hose for twisting would take about 1 work-hour for an estimated cost of $85 per helicopter and $2,380 for the U.S. fleet.

Replacing a LH fuel supply hose would take about 8 work-hours and parts would cost about $2,278 for an estimated replacement cost of $2,958 per replacement.

Borescope inspecting the LH fuel supply hose would take about 8 work-hours for an estimated cost of $680 per helicopter.

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, I certify this proposed regulation:

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

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

(3) Would 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-2020-0904; Product Identifier 2019-SW-041-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

The FAA must receive comments on this airworthiness directive (AD) action by June 24, 2021.

(b) Affected ADs

None.Start Printed Page 24786

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to Airbus Helicopters Model EC225LP helicopters, certificated in any category, with a left-hand side (LH) engine fuel supply (fuel supply) hose part number (P/N) 704A34416087 installed.

(d) Subject

Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 2820, Aircraft Fuel Distribution System.

(e) Unsafe Condition

This AD was prompted by a report of an incorrect installation of the LH fuel supply hose P/N 704A34416087. The FAA is issuing this AD to prevent restricted fuel flow to the LH engine. The unsafe condition, if not addressed, could result in a decrease of the LH engine power when accelerating to a power setting corresponding to One Engine Inoperative power and subsequent reduced control of the helicopter.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Required Actions

(1) Within 110 hours time-in-service (TIS) after the effective date of this AD, visually inspect the LH fuel supply hose for twisting as shown in Figures 1 and 2 of Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin No. EC225-71A019, Revision 1, dated February 28, 2019 (ASB EC225-71A019). If the LH fuel supply hose has any twisting, before further flight, borescope inspect the entire length of the inside of the fuel supply hose for twisting as shown in Figures 3 through 5 of ASB EC225-71A019.

(i) If the inside of the LH fuel supply hose has any twisting, before further flight, remove the LH fuel supply hose from service and install an airworthy LH fuel supply hose by following the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 3.B.3.b, of ASB EC225-71A019.

(ii) If the LH fuel supply hose does not have any twisting, reinstall the LH fuel supply hose by following the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 3.B.3.b, of ASB EC225-71A019.

(2) As of the effective date of this AD, do not install an LH fuel supply hose P/N 704A34416087 on any helicopter unless it is installed by following the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 3.B.3.b, of ASB EC225-71A019.

(h) Special Flight Permits

Special flight permits may be permitted provided that there are no passengers on board.

(i) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, International Validation Branch, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the International Validation Branch, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (j)(1) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: 9-AVS-AIR-730-AMOC@faa.gov.

(2) Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office.

(j) Related Information

(1) For more information about this AD, contact James Blyn, Aviation Safety Engineer, Strategic Policy Emerging Aircraft Section, Policy and Innovation Division, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email 9-ASW-FTW-AMOC-Requests@faa.gov.

(2) 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 https://www.airbus.com/​helicopters/​services/​technical-support.html. You may view the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 7617 N-321. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (817) 222-5110.

(3) The subject of this AD is addressed in European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2019-0092, dated April 26, 2019. You may view the EASA AD on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov in the AD Docket. You may view the EASA AD on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FAA-2020-0904.

Start Signature

Issued on May 3, 2021.

Lance T. Gant,

Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2021-09760 Filed 5-7-21; 8:45 am]

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