DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2018-0418; Product Identifier 2017-SW-016-AD; Amendment
39-19390; AD 2018-18-11]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for
Helicopters Model AS-365N2 and AS 365 N3 helicopters with a lower
strobe light installed. This AD requires installing a cable mount,
inspecting the lower strobe light wiring harness, and re-routing the
wiring harness. This AD was prompted by reports of interference between
the lower strobe light wiring harness and the helicopter structure. The
actions of this AD are intended to prevent an unsafe condition on these
DATES: This AD is effective October 18, 2018.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain document listed in this AD as of October 18,
ADDRESSES: 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.helicopters.airbus.com/website/en/ref/Technical-Support_73.
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-2018-0418.
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-
0418; 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 (phone: 800-647-5527) is U.S. Department of
Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor,
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: George Schwab, Aviation Safety
Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA,
10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110;
On May 11, 2018, at 83 FR 21964, the Federal Register published our
notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which proposed to amend 14 CFR
part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to Airbus Helicopters Model
AS-365N2 and AS 365 N3 helicopters with a lower strobe light installed.
The NPRM proposed to require installing a cable mount on the
helicopter structure and inspecting the lower strobe light electrical
harness and the electrical harness between the cut-off connector and
Frame 2000 for torn spiral tape and for any chafing on the harness
cables. If the spiral tape is torn, the NPRM proposed to require
replacing the spiral tape. If there is any chafing on the cable, the
NPRM proposed to require replacing the harness. The proposed
requirements were intended to prevent interference between the lower
strobe light electrical harness wiring and the helicopter structure,
which could result in chafing of an electrical harness adjacent to the
inboard fuel tank vapor space, a fuel tank fire, and subsequent loss of
control of the helicopter.
The NPRM was prompted by AD No. 2016-0258, dated December 16, 2016,
issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of
the European Union, to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus
Helicopters Model AS 365 N2 and AS 365 N3 helicopters with certain
serial numbers and configurations. EASA advises of in-production
helicopters with lower strobe light wiring harnesses that were
interfering with either the helicopter structure or the adjacent fuel
tank support. EASA further states that an investigation determined that
the electrical harnesses of these lower strobe lights were manufactured
with additional length to facilitate removal and installation of the
lower strobe light assembly. However, the additional length of wiring
in the harness was not properly secured to the helicopter structure.
According to EASA, this could result in chafing of the harness on the
helicopter structure, creating an ignition source adjacent to the
inboard fuel tank vapor space, and result in a fuel tank fire.
To address this unsafe condition, the EASA AD requires installing a
cable mount, inspecting the lower strobe light electrical harness for
damage, and re-routing the electrical harness.
We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing
this AD, but we did not receive any comments on the NPRM.
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
type designs and that air safety and the public interest require
adopting the AD requirements as proposed.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD limits the applicability to helicopters with a lower
strobe light installed and with certain serial numbers or that are in
configuration based upon a modification, service information, or
engineering drawings. This AD applies to all Model AS-365N2 and AS 365
N3 helicopters with a lower strobe light installed.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
We reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin No. AS365-
05.00.73, Revision 1, dated December 12, 2016, which specifies
procedures for inspecting the lower strobe light electrical harness for
interference and chafing with the helicopter structure and also
specifies procedures for installing a cable mount to secure the
electrical harness. These procedures correspond to Airbus Helicopters
modification (MOD) 365P084778.00.
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.
Costs of Compliance
We estimate that this AD affects 30 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 work-hour, installing a cable
mount and inspecting the strobe light wiring harnesses requires about
work-hour, and required parts cost about $50, for a cost of $135 per
helicopter and a total cost of $4,050 to all U.S. operators.
If required, replacing torn spiral tape requires about 1 work-hour,
and required parts cost $45, for a cost of $130 per helicopter.
If required, replacing a chafed wiring harness between the cut-off
connector and Frame 2000 requires about 3 work-hours, and required
parts cost $90, for a cost of $345 per helicopter.
If required, replacing a chafed lower strobe light wiring harness
requires about 3 work-hours, and required parts cost $154, for a cost
of $409 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.
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 helicopters identified in this
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 above, I certify that this AD:
(1) Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive
(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