DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2019-0113; Product Identifier 2017-SW-140-AD]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive
2016-11-21 for Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH (Airbus Helicopters)
Model EC135P1, EC135P2, EC135P2+, EC135T1, EC135T2, and EC135T2+
helicopters. AD 2016-11-21 requires revising the life limit of certain
parts and removing each part that has reached its life limit. Since the
FAA issued AD 2016-11-21, new models were certified. This proposed AD
would expand the applicability to include Model EC135P3 and EC135T3
helicopters. This proposed AD would also revise the life limits for
certain parts and propose to remove each part that has reached or
exceeded its life limit. 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 April
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-2019-0113;
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 (now European
Union Aviation Safety Agency) (EASA) AD, 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
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
view this 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, AD Program Manager,
Operational Safety Branch, Airworthiness Products Section, General
Aviation & Rotorcraft Unit, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX
76177; telephone 817-222-5110; email email@example.com.
The FAA invites you to send any written relevant data, views, or
arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed
under ADDRESSES. Include "Docket No. FAA-2019-0113; Product Identifier
2017-SW-140-AD" at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful
comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the
reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. The FAA
will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend
this proposal because of those comments.
Except for Confidential Business Information (CBI) as described in
the following paragraph, and other information as described in 14 CFR
11.35, the FAA will post all comments received, without change, to
https://www.regualtions.gov, including any personal information you
provide. The agency will also post a report summarizing each
substantive verbal contact received about this proposal.
Confidential Business Information
CBI is commercial or financial information that is both customarily
and actually treated as private by its owner. Under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), CBI is exempt from public
disclosure. If your comments responsive to this NPRM contain commercial
or financial information that is customarily treated as private, that
you actually treat as private, and that is relevant or responsive to
this NPRM, it is important that you clearly designate the submitted
comments as CBI. Please mark each page of your submission containing
CBI as "PROPIN." The FAA will treat such marked submissions as
confidential under the FOIA, and they will not be placed in the public
docket of this NPRM. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to Matt
Fuller, AD Program Manager, Operational Safety Branch, Airworthiness
Products Section, General Aviation & Rotorcraft Unit, 10101 Hillwood
Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5110; email
Matthew.Fuller@faa.gov. Any commentary that the FAA receives which is
not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket
for this rulemaking.
The FAA issued AD 2016-11-21, Amendment 39-18548 (81 FR 36137, June
6, 2016) (AD 2016-11-21) for Airbus Helicopters Model EC135P1, EC135P2,
EC135P2+, EC135T1, EC135T2, and EC135T2+ helicopters. AD 2016-11-21
requires reducing the life limit of certain parts and removing each part
that has reached its life limit. AD 2016-11-21 was prompted by Airbus
Helicopters revising the airworthiness limitations for the Model EC135
and EC635 helicopters' type design as published in the Master Servicing
Manual (MSM) EC135 Chapter 04--ALS documents. Revision 14 of the MSM
contains these new airworthiness limitations.
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, issued EASA AD No. 2013-0178, dated August 7, 2013
(EASA AD 2013-0178), to correct an unsafe condition for Eurocopter
Deutschland GmbH (ECD) (now Airbus Helicopters) Model EC135P1, EC135P2,
EC135P2+, EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, EC635T1, EC635P2+, and EC635T2+
helicopters. EASA advises that ECD has revised the airworthiness
limitations for the EC135 and EC635 type design as published in the
MSM. Revision 14 of the MSM contains these new airworthiness
limitations. EASA states that failure to comply with these limitations
could result in failure of a critical part, which could result in loss
of control of the helicopter. Accordingly, EASA AD 2013-0178 requires
revising the airworthiness limitations section (ALS) to include the new
life limits and replacing each part that has reached its life limit.
Actions Since AD 2016-11-21 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2016-11-21, EASA issued EASA AD No. 2017-
0243, dated December 6, 2017 (EASA AD 2017-0243), which supersedes EASA
AD No. 2013-0178 and expands the applicability to include Models
EC135P3, EC135T3, EC635P3, and EC635T3 helicopters. New life limits
also were added for some parts. Model EC635P3 and EC635T3 helicopters
are not included in the applicability of this proposed AD as these
model helicopters are not FAA type-certificated.
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 design.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin (ASB)
EC135-04A-012, Revision 0, dated September 11, 2017, which specifies
incorporating life limits for the tail rotor hub body into the tail
rotor hub log card and into the list of life-limited parts. Airbus
Helicopters reports the addition of the tail rotor hub body into the
tail rotor hub log card was prompted by a new, recently manufactured,
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, before further flight, establishing
a life limit for the tail rotor hub body of 27,400 hours time-in-
service (TIS) or using the service information if the history of the
tail rotor hub body is not known or cannot be identified. This proposed
AD would also require establishing life limits for certain swashplate
and mixing lever gear unit parts in the ALS, and recording the revised
life limit on the component history card or equivalent record.
Additionally, this proposed AD would require continuing to record the
life limit of certain parts that have not reached their life limit.
This proposed AD would require removing from service any part that
reached or exceeded its life limit.
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD applies to Model EC635P2+, EC635P3, EC635T2+, and
EC635T3 helicopters, whereas this proposed AD would not because these
model helicopters are not FAA type-certificated. The EASA AD would
require revising the Aircraft Maintenance Program with new or revised
life limitations within 12 months after the EASA AD's effective date.
This proposed AD would require revising the life limit for certain
parts in the ALS of the existing maintenance manual for your helicopter
before further flight.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD would affect 272
helicopters of U.S. Registry. The FAA estimates that operators may
incur the following costs in order to comply with this proposed AD.
Labor costs are estimated at $85 per work-hour.
Revising the component history card or equivalent record would take
about 2 work-hours, for an estimated cost of $170 per helicopter and
$46,240 for the U.S. fleet.
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, 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.
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:
a. Removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2016-11-21, Amendment 39-18548
(81 FR 36137); and
b. Adding the following new AD: