DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2017-0404; Product Identifier 2015-SW-066-AD]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters (Previously
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive
2008-24-04 for Eurocopter France (now Airbus Helicopters) Model AS355E,
AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, and AS355N helicopters. AD 2008-24-04
requires repetitively inspecting the lubricating pump and checking the
magnetic chip detector plug (chip detector) and the main gearbox (MGB)
oil-sight glass. Since the FAA issued AD 2008-24-04, Airbus Helicopters
has developed an alteration of the MGB oil flow distribution that
corrects the unsafe condition. This proposed AD would retain the
requirements of AD 2008-24-04 and would allow the option of altering
the MGB oil flow distribution as a terminating action for the
inspections. The actions of this proposed AD are intended to address an
unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by March
ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow
online instructions for sending your comments electronically.
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 https://www.regulations.
gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0404;
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 proposed AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, the
economic evaluation, 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 service information identified in this proposed rule, 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://
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 76177.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jignesh Patel, Aerospace Engineer,
Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101
Hillwood Pkwy, Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5110; email
The FAA invites you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting
written comments, data, or views. The FAA also invites 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
The FAA will file in the docket all comments received, 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 on or before 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 proposal in light of the
The FAA issued AD 2008-24-04, Amendment 39-15744 (73 FR 71530,
November 25, 2008) ("AD 2008-24-04") for Eurocopter France (now
Airbus Helicopters) Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, and AS355N
helicopters. AD 2008-24-04 requires repetitive checks of the chip
detector and the MGB oil-sight glass and repetitive inspections of the
lubricating pump. AD 2008-24-04 also requires replacing the MGB and
pump with an airworthy MGB and pump if necessary. AD 2008-24-04 was
prompted by cases of MGB lubricating pump deterioration. The actions of
AD 2008-24-04 are intended to implement improved procedures to detect
failing MGB oil pump, prevent failure of the MGB oil pump, seizure of
the MGB, loss of drive to an engine and main rotor, and subsequent loss
of control of the helicopter.
Actions Since AD 2008-24-04 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2008-24-04, Airbus Helicopters has issued
service information to provide procedures for Airbus Helicopters
modification (MOD) 077222, which improves the distribution of the oil
flow between the accessory modules of the combiner gearbox and the MGB.
Subsequently, EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States
of the European Union, issued EASA AD No. 2007-0209R1, dated September
11, 2015. EASA advises that Airbus Helicopters MOD 077222 provides the
same level of safety as the MGB pump inspections. Accordingly, the EASA
AD applies to Airbus Helicopters Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1,
AS355F2, and AS355N helicopters with a lubrication pump part number
355A32-0700-01, 355A32-0700-02, or 355A32-0701-00 installed, except
those with Airbus Helicopters MOD 077222 installed, and requires
repetitive MGB pump inspections and chip detector and MGB oil-sight
glass checks, and allows MOD 077222 as optional terminating action for
the repetitive inspections.
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 of the
unsafe condition described in its AD. The FAA is proposing this AD
after evaluating all known relevant information and determining that an
unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of
the same type designs.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Eurocopter Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No.
05.00.51, Revision 0, dated July 9, 2007 (ASB 05.00.51 Rev 0), and
Airbus Helicopters ASB No. 05.00.51, Revision 1, dated July 29, 2015.
This service information contains procedures for monitoring the MGB oil
pump for wear. Revision 1 of this service information omits helicopters
with MOD 077222 installed.
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.
Other Related Service Information
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Service Bulletin No. AS355-
63.00.25, Revision 1, dated July 29, 2015, and Revision 2, dated June
22, 2017. This service information contains procedures for altering the
lubrication system to increase oil flow between the accessory modules
of the combiner gearbox and the MGB. This service information also
specifies using mineral oil 0-155 in the combiner gearbox instead of
synthetic oil 0-156 after completing the alteration. Airbus Helicopters
identifies this alteration as MOD 077222. Revision 2 of this service
information clarifies a procedure and updates a work card.
The FAA also reviewed Eurocopter Emergency Alert Service Bulletin
No. 05.00.40, Revision 3, dated July 9, 2007. This service information
specifies inspecting the MGB magnetic plug for sludge and oil sight for
color. If there is sludge or if the oil is dark or dark purple, this
service information specifies removing the lubrication pump and
inspecting it for certain conditions, and replacing it as necessary.
Revision 3 of this service information informs operators that this
service information is superseded by ASB 05.00.51 Rev 0.
Proposed AD Requirements
This proposed AD would retain the requirements of AD 2008-24-04 and
add an option to alter the lubrication system (MOD 077222) as a
terminating action for the repetitive inspections. For those
helicopters that incorporate Mod 077222, using mineral oil 0-155 in the
combiner gearbox instead of synthetic oil 0-156 would be required. This
proposed AD would also exclude helicopters with MOD 077222 from the
An owner/operator (pilot) may perform the proposed visual checks
and must enter compliance with that paragraph into the helicopter
maintenance records in accordance with Title 14 Code of Federal
Regulations (14 CFR) Sec. Sec. 43.9(a)(1) through (4) and 14 CFR
91.417(a)(2)(v). A pilot may perform this check because it involves
only a visual check and can be performed equally well by a pilot or a
mechanic. This check is an exception to the FAA's standard maintenance
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD requires that the initial and repetitive MGB oil
inspections be conducted after the last flight of each day without
exceeding 10 flight hours between two successive checks. This proposed
AD would require those inspections before the first flight of each day
and at intervals not to exceed 10 hours time-in-service.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 46 helicopters of
U.S. Registry. Labor costs 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 AD.
Checking the MGB oil and chip detector condition would
take about 0.25 work-hour for an estimated cost of about $21 per
helicopter and $966 for the U.S. fleet per check.
Inspecting the lubricating pump would take about 1 work-
hour for an estimated cost of $85 per helicopter and $3,910 for the
U.S. fleet per inspection.
Replacing the MGB and pump would take about 8 work-hours
and cost about $64,000 (overhauled) in parts for an estimated cost of
$64,680 per helicopter.
Altering the lubrication system (optional MOD 077222)
would take about 4 work-hours and cost about $2,335 in parts for an
estimated cost of $2,675 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.
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
2. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska to the extent that
it justifies making a regulatory distinction, 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.
The FAA 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 removing Airworthiness Directive (AD)
2008-24-04, Amendment 39-15744 (73 FR 71530, November 25, 2008), and
adding the following new AD: