DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2016-3343; Product Identifier 2015-SW-078-AD]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM); reopening
of comment period.
SUMMARY: The FAA is revising an earlier proposal to supersede
Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2014-12-12, which applies to certain
Airbus Helicopters Model EC120B and EC130B4 helicopters. This action
revises the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) by revising the
compliance time, expanding the applicability, and providing improved
procedures for modifying the sliding door star support as specified in
a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which will be
incorporated by reference. The FAA is proposing this AD to address the
unsafe condition on these products. Since these actions would impose an
additional burden over those in the NPRM, the FAA is reopening the
comment period to allow the public the chance to comment on these
DATES: The comment period for the NPRM published in the Federal
Register on October 26, 2016 (81 FR 74362), is reopened.
The FAA must receive comments on this SNPRM by November 6, 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.
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 incorporated by reference (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 IBR material on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu.
You may view this IBR 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-2016-3343.
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-2016-
3343; 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 SNPRM, 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.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Hatfield, Aviation Safety
Engineer, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort
Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5116; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The FAA invites you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting
written comments, data, or views about this proposal. 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. Send your
comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include
"Docket No. FAA-2016-3343; Product Identifier 2015-SW-078-AD" at the
beginning of your 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, as well
as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA
personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this
proposal, the FAA will consider all comments received by the closing
date for comments. The FAA will consider comments filed after the
comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without incurring
expense or delay. The FAA may change this NPRM because of those
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 David
Hatfield, Aviation Safety Engineer, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA,
10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5116;
email email@example.com. Any commentary that the FAA receives
which is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the
public docket for this rulemaking.
The FAA issued AD 2014-12-12, Amendment 39-17873 (79 FR 36638, June
30, 2014) ("AD 2014-12-12"). AD 2014-12-12 requires actions to
address an unsafe condition on certain Airbus Helicopters Model EC120B
and EC130B4 helicopters. AD 2014-12-12 requires inspecting the upper
and lower locking pin control rod fittings for a bend, twist, or
breakage and the star support pin for a crack; replacing control rod
end fittings and star support pins if necessary; and reinforcing the
sliding door star support stringer by installing three carbon fabric
The FAA issued an NPRM to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD to
supersede AD 2014-12-12 that would apply to certain Airbus Helicopters
Model EC120B and EC130B4 helicopters. The NPRM published in the Federal
Register on October 26, 2016 (81 FR 74362) ("the NPRM"). The NPRM was
prompted by a report of passengers not being able to open a
helicopter's left-hand door after landing. The NPRM proposed to require
inspecting each upper and lower locking pin control rod end fitting and
replacing it if necessary, cleaning and dye-penetrant inspecting the
star support pin for cracking and replacing it if necessary, and
reinforcing the sliding door star support stringer.
Actions Since Previous NPRM Was Issued
Since the FAA issued the NPRM, there have been several incidents
involving helicopter left-hand doors (both swinging and sliding) that
revealed weaknesses in the locking mechanism. The FAA has determined
the NPRM must be revised by revising the compliance time, expanding the
applicability, and providing improved procedures for modifying the
sliding door star support.
The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2020-0095, dated April 29, 2020
("EASA AD 2020-0095") (referred to after this as the Mandatory
Continuing Airworthiness Information, or "the MCAI"), to correct an
unsafe condition for certain Airbus Helicopters Model EC120B and
EC130B4 helicopters. EASA advises that, after landing, the passengers
on an Airbus Helicopters Model EC120B helicopter could not open the
sliding door from inside. The passengers had to leave the helicopter
through the other door. The results of the subsequent investigation
revealed failure of a sliding door star axle support. This condition,
if not corrected, could delay the evacuation from the helicopter in
case of emergency, possibly resulting in injury to the occupants.
EASA AD 2020-0095 superseded EASA AD 2015-0020, dated February 11,
2015 ("EASA AD 2015-0020"), which corresponds to FAA NPRM, Docket No.
FAA-2016-3343. EASA AD 2015-0020 superseded EASA AD 2013-0093, dated
April 15, 2013; corrected April 17, 2013, which corresponds to FAA AD
EASA AD 2020-0095 revises the compliance time that was specified in
EASA AD 2015-0020 and expands the applicability.
You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the internet at
https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No.
This proposed AD was prompted by a report of passengers not being
able to open a helicopter's left-hand door after landing. The FAA is
proposing this AD to address failure of the sliding door star support,
which could inhibit the operation of the sliding door from the inside,
delaying the evacuation of passengers during an emergency. See the MCAI
for additional background information.
Related Material Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2020-0095 describes improved procedures for modifying the
door locking/unlocking mechanism (e.g. modifying the sliding door star
support by installing a reinforcing bracket and replacing rod ends).
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.
The FAA gave the public the opportunity to participate in
developing this proposed AD. The following presents the comment
received on the NPRM and the FAA's response to that comment.
Request To Refer to Revised Service Information
Airbus Helicopters proposed that the service information specified
in the NPRM be revised because it was not the current revision level.
The commenter stated that revising the service information to reflect
the current revision level would prevent having to revise the final
rule in the near future. The commenter explained that Airbus
Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin EC120-52A018, Revision 01; and Alert
Service Bulletin EC130-52A019, Revision 01, were released July 12,
2016, and included improved procedures for replacing the rod ends and
installing the reinforcements of the sliding door star support. The
commenter noted that the revised service information also included
additional helicopters in the effectivity.
The FAA acknowledges the commenter's concern regarding the revision
level of the service information specified in the proposed AD (in the
NPRM). Since the FAA issued the NPRM, the AD format has changed and
instead of specifying the required service information in paragraph
(g), Requirements, of this proposed AD (SNPRM), operators would be
required to comply with all required actions and compliance times
specified in, and in accordance with, EASA AD 2020-0095, 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 MCAI." EASA AD 2020-0095 specifies that operators
must use Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin EC120-52A018,
Revision 01; and Alert Service Bulletin EC130-52A019, Revision 01, both
dated July 12, 2016, as the required service information. The FAA has
not changed this proposed AD (SNPRM) in regard to this issue.
FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD
This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another
country, and is 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 MCAI
referenced above. The FAA is proposing this AD because the FAA
evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe
condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other
products of the same type design.
Proposed AD Requirements
This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified
in EASA AD 2020-0095 described previously, as incorporated by
reference, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the
regulatory text of this AD and except as discussed under "Differences
Between this Proposed AD and the MCAI."
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 2020-0095
will be incorporated by reference in the FAA final rule. This proposed
AD would, therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2020-0095 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 2020-0095 that is required for compliance with EASA AD 2020-
0095 will be available on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov
by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-3343 after the FAA
final rule is published.
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the MCAI
EASA AD 2020-0095 specifies to do the modification within 24
months. This proposed AD would require the modification be done within
460 hours time-in-service (TIS), based on an average of 230 hours TIS
per year. The FAA has determined this compliance time represents the
maximum interval of time allowable for the affected helicopters to
continue to safely operate before the modification is done.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 355 helicopters of
U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with
this proposed AD:
Estimated Costs for Required Actions
COST ON U.S.
|20 work-hours x $85 per hour = $1,700
According to the manufacturer, some or all of the costs of this
proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost
impact on affected operators. The FAA does not control warranty
coverage for affected operators. As a result, the FAA has included all
known costs in the cost estimate.
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.
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
(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.
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 removing Airworthiness Directive (AD)
2014-12-12, Amendment 39-17873 (79 FR 36638, June 30, 2014), and adding
the following new AD: