DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2016-6651; Directorate Identifier 2016-SW-015-AD;
Amendment 39-18867; AD 2017-09-05]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of
ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for
Helicopters Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, AS332L1, AS332L2, and
EC225LP helicopters. This AD requires repetitively checking screws in
the emergency flotation gear. This AD is prompted by a report that a
screw ruptured on a Model AS332 helicopter's emergency flotation gear.
These actions are intended to correct an unsafe condition on these
DATES: This AD becomes effective May 26, 2017.
We must receive comments on this AD by July 10, 2017.
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 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 http://www.regulations.
gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016- 6651;
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 AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) 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 final 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
http://www.airbushelicopters.com/techpub. You may review the referenced
service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel,
Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matt Fuller, Senior Aviation Safety
Engineer, Safety Management Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 10101
Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email
This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight
safety, and we did not provide you with notice and an opportunity to
provide your comments prior to it becoming effective. However, 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 resulted
from adopting this AD. The most helpful comments reference a specific
portion of the AD, 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 them 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 rulemaking during the
comment period. We will consider all the comments we receive and may
conduct additional rulemaking based on those comments.
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA Emergency AD No. 2015-0239-E, dated
December 18, 2015, to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus
Helicopters Model AS 332 C, AS 332 C1, AS 332 L, AS 332 L1, AS 332 L2,
and EC 225 LP helicopters with emergency flotation gear. EASA advises
that a screw ruptured on the rear upper fitting on the left-hand (LH)
emergency flotation gear of an AS332 helicopter. EASA states that this
condition, if not detected and corrected, could result in the failure
of an emergency flotation system when ditching and unstable floating of
the helicopter, possibly resulting in injury to the occupants. EASA
consequently requires repetitive inspections of the lower attachment
screws of rear upper fitting on the rear LH and right-hand (RH)
emergency flotation gears. According to EASA, the root cause of the
failure has not yet been identified.
These helicopters 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, its technical
representative, has notified us of the unsafe condition described in
the EASA AD. We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all
information provided by EASA and determined the unsafe condition exists
and is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of these same
Related Service Information
We have reviewed Airbus Helicopters Emergency Alert Service
Bulletin (EASB) No. 05.01.06, Revision 0, dated December 18, 2015, for
Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, AS332L1, and AS332L2 helicopters and for
military Model AS332B, AS332B1, AS332F1, AS332M, and AS332M1
helicopters, and EASB No. 05A047, Revision 0, dated December 18, 2015,
for Model EC225LP helicopters. This service information specifies
repetitively inspecting the lower screws of the rear upper fitting on
the rear LH
and RH emergency floating gears for the presence of the heads and
stressing the screw heads using a tool to make sure that the screw head
does not move. If all screw heads are present, the service information
requires no further action. If at least one screw head is missing or
moves, the service information specifies replacing the two lower screws
and the upper screw and informing Airbus Helicopters.
This AD requires, within 15 hours time-in-service (TIS) and
thereafter before each flight over water, visually checking the rear
upper fittings of the LH and RH emergency flotation gears for the
presence of screw heads and looseness. An owner/operator (pilot) may
perform the required visual check and must enter compliance with the
applicable paragraph of the AD into the helicopter maintenance records
in accordance with 14 CFR 43.9(a)(1) through (4) and 91.417(a)(2)(v).
pilot may perform this check because it involves visually checking the
rear upper fittings of the LH and RH emergency flotation gears for the
presence of screw heads and twisting the screws by hand, which can be
performed equally well by a pilot or a mechanic. This check is an
exception to our standard maintenance regulations. If any screw heads
are missing, loose, or twist off with hand pressure, this AD requires
replacing all screws in the fitting before the next flight over water.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD allows using tools for the inspection, while this AD
requires checking by hand. The EASA AD requires that repetitive
inspections occur at intervals not to exceed 15 hours TIS, while this
AD requires the repetitive checks before each flight over water. The
EASA AD requires contacting Airbus Helicopters if a screw is missing or
loose, while this AD does not.
We consider this AD interim action. The design approval holder is
currently investigating the root cause for this unsafe condition and
may develop a modification that will address this unsafe condition. If
this modification is developed, approved and available, we might
consider additional rulemaking.
Costs of Compliance
We estimate that this AD affects 24 helicopters of U.S. Registry
and that labor costs average $85 per work-hour. Based on these
estimates, we expect the following costs:
Checking the screws requires about 1/10 of a work-hour and
no parts are needed, for a cost of $9 per helicopter and $216 for the
Replacing the screws requires 8 work-hours for a labor
cost of $680. Parts cost $150 for a total cost of $830 per helicopter.
FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date
Providing an opportunity for public comments prior to adopting
these AD requirements would delay implementing the safety actions
needed to correct this known unsafe condition. Therefore, we find that
the risk to the flying public justifies waiving notice and comment
prior to the adoption of this rule because the required corrective
actions must be accomplished within 15 hours TIS.
Since an unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate
adoption of this AD, we determined that notice and opportunity for
public comment before issuing this AD are impracticable and that good
cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.
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 products identified in this
We determined that 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, I certify that this AD:
1. Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order
2. Is not a ``significant rule'' under 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 AD and placed it in the AD docket.
List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39
Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by
Adoption of the Amendment
Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the
Administrator, the FAA amends 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