DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2018-0177; Product Identifier 2017-SW-138-AD; Amendment
39-19218; AD 2018-05-09]
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, and AS332L1 helicopters.
This AD requires inspecting the tail rotor (T/R) flapping hinge link
(hinge) and reporting the results. This AD is prompted by a report of
damaged flapping hinge link. The actions of this AD are intended to
prevent an unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD becomes effective March 26, 2018.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain document listed in this AD as of March 26, 2018.
We must receive comments on this AD by May 8, 2018.
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-2018-
0177; 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 AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, any
incorporated-by-reference service information, the economic evaluation,
any comments received, and other information. The street address for
Docket Operations (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
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. It is also available
on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and
locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0177.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Martin R. Crane, Aviation Safety
Engineer, Regulations & Policy Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch,
FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-
5110; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Emergency AD No. 2017-0232-E, dated November
21, 2017, to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters Model
AS 332 C, AS 332 C1, AS 332 L, and AS 332 L1 helicopters. The EASA AD
was prompted by the in-flight failure of a pin in a hinge attaching the
T/R. EASA advises that damage to the hinge on a T/R blade was reported
and that an investigation is ongoing to determine the root cause of the
damage. EASA further advises that this condition could lead to failure
of the hinge, unbalance of the T/R, and detachment of the T/R gearbox
and hub with subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. To correct
this unsafe condition, the EASA AD requires a one-time inspection of
the flapping hinges, and depending on the findings, corrective actions.
It also requires reporting the findings and sending any cracked
components to Airbus Helicopters to support the investigation.
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 Under 1 CFR Part 51
We reviewed Airbus Helicopters Emergency Alert Service Bulletin
(EASB) No. 64.00.43, Revision 0, dated November 21, 2017, for Model
AS332-series helicopters. This service information describes procedures
for visually and dye penetrant inspecting the hinges of all five T/Rs.
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.
This AD requires, within 25 hours time-in-service (TIS):
Performing a tactile inspection of each hinge for friction
Measuring for play in the drag plane;
Measuring the tightening torque of each spindle bolt.
- If the tightening torque is not within the minimum and
maximum torque, dye-penetrant inspecting the spindle bolt for a crack
and removing the spindle bolt and hexagonal castellated nut from
- If the tightening torque is within the minimum and maximum
torque, inspecting the spindle bolt for corrosion and fretting.
Inspecting the bearing race inner ring and bearing needles
for spalling and replacing the bearing race if there is any spalling;
Measuring the thickness of each stop washer and removing
the stop washer from service if the thickness is less than 1.5 mm (.060
Inspecting the inner ring for brinelling.
- If there is brinelling deeper than 0.1 mm (.004 inch),
repairing the hinge.
- If there is brinelling 0.1 mm (.004 inch) or less, dye-
penetrant inspecting the inner ring for a crack.
This AD also requires, within 10 days after the inspection,
reporting the results of each inspection and measurement to Airbus
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD requires compliance within 25 hours TIS or at the next
50 hour inspection of the T/R, whichever is later; this AD requires
compliance within 25 hours TIS. The EASA AD requires returning parts to
Airbus Helicopters, and this AD does not.
We considered this AD interim action. The inspection reports that
are required by this AD will enable Airbus Helicopters to obtain better
insight into the cause of the damaged flapping hinge link, and
eventually develop final action to address the unsafe condition. Once
final action has been identified, we might consider further rulemaking.
Costs of Compliance
We estimate that this AD affects 20 helicopters of U.S. Registry.
We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order
to comply with this AD. At an average labor rate of $85 per hour,
inspecting 5 T/R hinges will require 8 hours, and required materials
cost would be minimal, for a cost per helicopter of $680 and a cost of
$13,600 to the U.S. fleet. Reporting the inspection findings would
require about 30 minutes, for a cost per helicopter of $43 and a cost
of $860 to the U.S. fleet. If required, dye-penetrant inspecting the
spindle bolt or inner ring would require about 1 hour, and required
materials cost would be minimal, for a cost per helicopter of $85. If
required, replacing a spindle bolt would require about 1 hour, and
required parts would cost $625, for a cost per helicopter of $710.
If required, replacing the bearing race would require about 1 hour,
and required parts would cost $585, for a cost per helicopter of $670.
If required, replacing the inner ring would require about 1 hour,
and required parts would cost $1,986, for a cost per helicopter of
Paperwork Reduction Act
A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not
required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to penalty for
failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of
information displays a current valid OMB control number. The control
number for the collection of information required by this AD is 2120-
0056. The paperwork cost associated with this AD has been detailed in
the Costs of Compliance section of this document and includes time for
reviewing instructions, as well as completing and reviewing the
collection of information. Therefore, all reporting required by this AD
is mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden and
suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at
800 Independence Ave, SW, Washington, DC 20591. ATTN: Information
Collection Clearance Officer, AES-200.
FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date
An unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of
this AD without providing an opportunity for public comments prior to
adoption. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public
justifies waiving notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule
because the inspections required by this AD must be accomplished within
25 hours TIS, a relatively short period of time for these helicopters
as they are primarily used for offshore operations. Therefore, we find
good cause that notice and opportunity for prior public comment are
In addition, for the reason stated above, we find 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