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Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Airbus Helicopters Model EC130B4 and EC130T2 helicopters. This AD was prompted by a report of cracks and geometrical non-conformities of the tail rotor blades (TRBs); all cracks initiated in the drain hole area at the blade root section. This AD requires cleaning affected parts, visual and dye penetrant inspections for cracks of affected parts, a dimensional inspection to verify conformity of affected parts, and corrective actions if necessary, as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is incorporated by reference. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective July 6, 2021.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of July 6, 2021.

ADDRESSES:

For material incorporated by reference (IBR) in this AD, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; phone: +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-2021-0145.

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-2021-0145; 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 final rule, any comments received, and other information. The address for Docket Operations is 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:

Hal Jensen, Aerospace Engineer, Operational Safety Branch, FAA, 950 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20024; phone: 202-267-9167; email: hal.jensen@faa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2020-0187, dated August 21, 2020 (EASA AD 2020-0187) (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or the MCAI), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus Helicopters Model EC130B4 and EC130T2 helicopters.

The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain Airbus Helicopters Model EC130B4 and EC130T2 helicopters. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on March 15, 2021 (86 Start Printed Page 29177FR 14290). The NPRM was prompted by a report of cracks and geometrical non-conformities of the TRBs; all cracks initiated in the drain hole area at the blade root section. The NPRM proposed to require cleaning affected parts, visual and dye penetrant inspections for cracks of affected parts, a dimensional inspection to verify conformity of affected parts, and corrective actions if necessary, as specified in an EASA AD.

The FAA is issuing this AD to address geometrical non-conformities of the TRBs, which could lead to crack initiation and consequent blade failure, and possible loss of control of the helicopter. See the MCAI for additional background information.

Discussion of Final Airworthiness Directive

Comments

The FAA gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this final rule. The FAA received no comments on the NPRM or on the determination of the cost to the public.

Conclusion

The FAA reviewed the relevant data and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting this final rule as proposed, except for minor editorial changes. The FAA has determined that these minor changes:

  • Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the NPRM for addressing the unsafe condition; and
  • Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the NPRM.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

EASA AD 2020-0187 specifies procedures for cleaning affected parts, visual and dye penetrant inspections for cracks of affected parts (the cleaning and visual and dye penetrant inspections are one-time or repetitive, depending on the accumulated hours time in service on the TRB), a one-time dimensional inspection to verify conformity of affected parts, and corrective actions if necessary. Corrective actions include replacement of the affected part with a serviceable part, and additional repetitive cleaning and inspections until replacement of the affected part with a serviceable part. 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.

Interim Action

The FAA considers this AD interim action. If final action is later identified, the FAA might consider further rulemaking then.

Costs of Compliance

The FAA estimates that this AD affects 264 helicopters of U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this AD:

Estimated Costs for Required Actions

Labor costParts costCost per productCost on U.S. operators
7 work-hours × $85 per hour = $595$0$595$157,080

The FAA estimates the following costs to do any necessary on-condition actions that would be required based on the results of any required actions. The FAA has no way of determining the number of helicopters that might need these on-condition actions:

Estimated Costs of On-Condition Actions

Labor costParts costCost per product
4 work-hours × $85 per hour = $340$4,641$4,981

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

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) 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 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
Start Printed Page 29178
[Amended]
Start Amendment Part

2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive:

End Amendment Part

2021-10-25 Airbus Helicopters: Amendment 39-21558; Docket No. FAA-2021-0145; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-01212-R.

(a) Effective Date

This airworthiness directive (AD) is effective July 6, 2021.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to all Airbus Helicopters Model EC130B4 and EC130T2 helicopters, certificated in any category, with a tail rotor blade (TRB), obtained by forging, part number 350A33-3002-02, 350A33-3002-03, 350A33-3002-04, or 350A33-3002-05 installed.

(d) Subject

Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC) Code 6410, Tail rotor blades.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by a report of cracks and geometrical non-conformities of the TRBs; all cracks initiated in the drain hole area at the blade root section. The FAA is issuing this AD to address geometrical non-conformities of the TRBs, which could lead to crack initiation and consequent blade failure, and possible loss of control of the helicopter.

(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, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2020-0187, dated August 21, 2020 (EASA AD 2020-0187).

(h) Exceptions to EASA AD 2020-0187

(1) Where EASA AD 2020-0187 refers to its effective date, this AD requires using the effective date of this AD.

(2) The “Remarks” section of EASA AD 2020-0187 does not apply to this AD.

(3) Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2020-0187 specifies to discard certain parts, this AD does not include that requirement.

(4) Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2020-0187 specifies to return certain parts, this AD does not include that requirement.

(5) Where EASA AD 2020-0187 refers to flight hours (FH), this AD requires using hours time-in-service.

(6) Where the service information referenced in EASA AD 2020-0187 specifies to “contact customer support,” this AD does not include that requirement.

(7) Where the service information referenced in EASA AD 2020-0187 specifies to measure using the Smartphone application, the PowerPoint method, or “Contacting customer support with a specific procedure,” those methods of measurement are not required by this AD.

(i) No Reporting Requirement

Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2020-0187 specifies to submit certain information to the manufacturer, this AD does not include that requirement.

(j) Special Flight Permit

Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with 14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199 to operate the helicopter to a location where the helicopter can be modified (if the operator elects to do so), provided that the helicopter is operated under visual flight rules.

(k) 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 (l) 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.

(l) Related Information

For more information about this AD, contact Hal Jensen, Aerospace Engineer, Operational Safety Branch, FAA, 950 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20024; phone: 202-267-9167; email: hal.jensen@faa.gov.

(m) 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 this AD specifies otherwise.

(i) European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2020-0187, dated August 21, 2020.

(ii) [Reserved]

(3) For EASA AD 2020-0187, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; phone: +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.

(4) 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. 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-2021-0145.

(5) You may view this material that is incorporated by reference at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, email fedreg.legal@nara.gov, or go to https://www.archives.gov/​federal-register/​cfr/​ibr-locations.html.

Start Signature

Issued on May 7, 2021.

Gaetano A. Sciortino,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2021-11393 Filed 5-28-21; 8:45 am]

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