DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2012-0222; Directorate Identifier 2011-SW-007-AD]
Airworthiness Directives; Eurocopter France Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for
certain Eurocopter France Model AS350 helicopters. This proposed AD is
prompted by an in-flight fire caused by ignition of hydraulic fluid
leaking from a damaged forward (pitch) servo-control hydraulic hose.
The proposed actions are intended to prevent the forward servo-control
hydraulic hoses from becoming damaged and leaking hydraulic fluid that
could ignite in flight, which can result in loss of main rotor control,
power loss, structural damage, propagation of fire, and subsequent loss
of control of the helicopter.
DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by May 8, 2012.
ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to http://www.regulations.gov.
Follow the online instructions for sending your
Mail: Send comments to the U.S. Department of
Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor,
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
Hand Delivery: Deliver to the "Mail" address between 9
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
Examining the AD Docket: You may examine the AD docket on the
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or in person at the Docket
Operations Office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday,
except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the
economic evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The
street address for the Docket Operations Office (telephone 800-647-
5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD
docket shortly after receipt.
For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact
American Eurocopter Corporation, 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX
75052, telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323, fax (972) 641-3775,
or at http://www.eurocopter.com/techpub. You may review copies of the
referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional
Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth,
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matt Wilbanks, Aerospace Engineer,
FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Regulations and Policy Group, 2601 Meacham
Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5051; email
We invite you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting
written comments, data, or views. We also invite comments relating to
the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that might
result from adopting the proposals in this document. The most helpful
comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the
reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To
ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters
should send only one copy of written comments, or if comments are filed
electronically, commenters should submit only one time.
We will file in the docket all comments that we receive, as well as
a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel
concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this proposal, we
will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for
comments. We will consider comments filed after the comment period has
closed if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay.
We may change this proposal in light of the comments we receive.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical
Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued AD No.
2011-0033, dated March 1, 2011 (AD 2011-0033) to correct an unsafe
condition for the Eurocopter AS350 B, BA, BB, D, B1, B2, and B3
helicopters with a single hydraulic power system and forward (pitch)
servo-control hydraulic hoses part number (P/N) 704A34-412-033 (other
reference manufacturer's part number (MP/N) 675-102-05-01) and P/N
704A34-412-035 (other reference MP/N 675-102-06-01) installed. EASA
advises that an in-flight fire in the main gearbox compartment occurred
on an AS350B2 helicopter, "caused by ignition of hydraulic fluid
leaking from a hydraulic hose that had been damaged following an
electrical fault in a circuit located in the compartment, which is not
fire protected. An in-flight fire in the main gearbox compartment
during a continued flight, when undetected or where a landing could not
be performed immediately, could result in loss of hydraulics, shutdown
of the engine because of fire effects, and damage to the Main Rotor (M/
R) control system." This condition, if not prevented, could lead to
loss of M/R control, power loss, structural damage, propagation of fire
into the cabin or other compartments, and subsequent loss of control of
the helicopter. For these reasons, AD 2011-0033 requires installation
of protection sleeves on the affected hydraulic hoses.
These products 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, their technical
representative, has notified us of the unsafe condition described in
their AD. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all known
relevant information and determined that an unsafe condition is likely
to exist or develop on other helicopters of the same type design.
Related Service Information
Eurocopter has issued Alert Service Bulletin No. 29.00.13, dated
July 26, 2010 (ASB 29.00.13), which specifies installing two siliconed
glass wool sleeves over both forward main rotor servo-control hydraulic
hoses. EASA classified this ASB as mandatory and issued AD 2011-0033 to
ensure the continued airworthiness of these helicopters.
Proposed AD Requirements
This proposed AD would require, within 30 days, installing
protection sleeves over the forward (pitch) servo-control hydraulic
hoses in accordance with paragraph 2.B.2 of ASB 29.00.13.
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD applies to the Eurocopter Model AS350 BB. The proposed
AD does not, as this model is not type certificated in the U.S.
Costs of Compliance
We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 695 helicopters of
We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order
to comply with this AD. Disconnecting the servo control hoses,
installing the protective sleeves, reconnecting the hoses, and testing
for interference requires one work hour at an average labor rate of $85
per hour. Required parts cost $212, for a total cost of $297 for each
helicopter. Based upon these costs, we estimate a total cost to the
U.S. operator fleet of $206,415.
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
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 helicopters identified in this
We 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
2. Is not a "significant rule" under the DOT Regulatory Policies
and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979);
3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska to the extent that
it justifies making a regulatory distinction; 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.
We prepared an economic evaluation of the estimated costs to comply
with this proposed AD and placed it in the AD docket.
List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39
Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by
The Proposed Amendment
Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the
Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:
PART 39--AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES
1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.
Sec. 39.13 [Amended]
2. The FAA amends Sec. 39.13 by adding the following new
Airworthiness Directive (AD):