DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2018-0019; Product Identifier 2017-SW-074-AD]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD)
for Airbus Helicopters Model AS332L2 and EC225LP helicopters. This
proposed AD would require determining the accumulated hours time-in-
service (TIS) of certain part-numbered main gearbox (MGB) suspension
bar attachment bolts and fittings, applying a life limit add-on factor,
and inspecting the torque of certain MGB suspension bar attachment
nuts. This proposed AD is prompted by a report of torque loss on an MGB
suspension bar bolt. 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 February 7, 2020.
ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to https://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 https://www.regulations.gov
by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-
0019; 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://www.airbus.com/helicopters/services/technical-support.html. 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 76177.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matt Fuller, Senior Aviation Safety
Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA,
10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5110;
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 time.
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
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD No. 2017-0189, dated September 22,
2017, to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters (formerly
Eurocopter, Eurocopter France, Aerospatiale) Model AS 332 L2 and EC 225
LP helicopters. Following review of reported Model EC 225 LP data, EASA
advises that the installation of the MGB upper deck fittings of the
three MGB suspension bars could lead to tightening torque loss on the
fittings' attachment pins (bolts). Due to design similarities, Model AS
332 L2 helicopters could also be affected by the same installation
condition. An investigation determined that the life limits in the
Airworthiness Limitations Sections for the pins and fittings are valid
if an "add-on penalty factor" is applied.
EASA states that this condition, if not corrected, could lead to
structural failure of the MGB suspension bar attachment pins or
fittings. Accordingly, the EASA AD requires applying the add-on penalty
factor to the flight hours to re-calculate the life limits and
replacing an affected part before exceeding its life limit.
EASA further advises that Airbus Helicopters' initial service
information contained an error that may have resulted in the
installation of pins or fittings using an incorrect torque value. As a
result, the EASA AD also requires replacing pins if an incorrect torque
value was applied and reporting the information to Airbus Helicopters.
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 products of the
same type design.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Emergency Alert Service
Bulletin (EASB) No. 01.00.86 for Model AS332 helicopters and Airbus
Helicopters EASB No. 04A013 for Model EC225LP helicopters, both
Revision 1 and dated August 25, 2017. This service information
specifies applying an add-on factor to the flying hours logged by the
pins and fittings and replacing them if the service life limit (SLL) is
exceeded. If an incorrect tightening torque value was applied to the
pins, the service information specifies replacing the pins and
contacting Airbus Helicopters.
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.
Proposed AD Requirements
This proposed AD would require for Airbus Helicopters Model AS332L2
and EC225LP helicopters, within 30 hours time-in-service (TIS) and
thereafter following each flight, re-calculating the life limit
accumulated by each front bolt part number (P/N) 332A22-1613-21 or
332A22-1613-20 and rear bolt P/N 332A22-1614-20 by applying an add-on
factor listed in the applicable service information. If the bolt meets
or exceeds its life limit, also known as SLL, this proposed AD would
require removing the bolt from service before further flight.
For Model AS332L2 helicopters, within 30 hours TIS and thereafter
following each flight, this proposed AD would require re-calculating
the life limit accumulated by the front attachment fitting P/N 332A22-
1623-01, rear left hand attachment fitting P/N 332A22-1624-02 or
332A22-1624-04, and rear right hand attachment fitting P/N 332A22-1624-
03 or 332A22-1624-05 by applying an add-on factor listed in the
applicable service information. If the fitting meets or exceeds its
life limit, this proposed AD would require removing the fitting from
service before further flight.
For Model AS332L2 helicopters, within 150 hours TIS (without
applying an add on-factor), this proposed AD would require inspecting
the torque of each MGB suspension bar fitting front and rear nut. If
the torque on any nut is higher than the maximum allowable limit, the
proposed AD would require removing the nut and its bolt from service
before further flight. If the torque on any nut is lower than the
minimum allowable limit, this proposed AD would require tightening the
nut before further flight and removing the nut and its bolt from
service within 150 hours TIS.
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD allows an optional 150 hours TIS extension to the life
limit of an affected fitting for Model AS 332 L2 helicopters by
performing dye-penetrant inspections. This AD does not allow this
option. For Model AS 332 L2 helicopters, the EASA AD requires replacing
pins (bolts) that are replacement pins installed before the AD's
effective date with an incorrect torque value applied. This AD requires
inspecting the torque for each nut for Model AS332L2 helicopters
instead and depending on the outcome, removing the nut and its bolt
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 23 helicopters of
U.S. Registry. Labor costs are estimated at $85 per work-hour. Based on
these numbers, the FAA estimates the following costs to comply with
this proposed AD.
Determining the adjusted life limit for the bolts and fittings
would take about 0.5 work-hour for an estimated cost of $43 per
helicopter and $989 for the U.S. fleet. Replacing a bolt would take
about 4 work-hours and parts would cost about $89 for an estimated cost
of $429 per bolt.
There are no costs of compliance for replacing a fitting and
inspecting, and if necessary tightening, the torque for Model AS332L2
helicopters by this proposed AD because there are no Model AS332L2
helicopters on the U.S. Registry.
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 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.
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 adding the following new airworthiness