DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2018-0647; Product Identifier 2017-SW-083-AD; Amendment
39-19557; AD 2019-03-05]
Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for
Helicopter Textron Canada Limited (Bell) Model 429 helicopters. This AD
revises the life limit for the nose landing gear (NLG) assembly. This
AD was prompted by revised airworthiness limitations determined by
Bell. The actions of this AD are intended to prevent an unsafe
condition on these products.
DATES: This AD is effective March 26, 2019.
ADDRESSES: For service information identified in this final rule,
contact Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited, 12,800 Rue de l'Avenir,
Mirabel, Quebec J7J1R4; telephone (450) 437-2862 or (800) 363-8023; fax
(450) 433-0272; or at http://www.bellcustomer.com/files/. 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.
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-
0647; 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 Transport Canada AD, 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: Matt Fuller, Senior Aviation Safety
Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA,
10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110;
On July 19, 2018, at 83 FR 34074, 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 Bell Model 429
helicopters with a NLG assembly part number (P/N) 429-336-100-101
installed. The NPRM proposed to revise the life limit for the NLG
assembly. The proposed requirements were intended to prevent fatigue
failure of an NLG assembly, which could result in subsequent damage to
and loss of control of the helicopter.
The NPRM was prompted by Canadian AD No. CF-2016-07, dated March 4,
2016, to correct an unsafe condition for Bell Model 429 helicopters
with wheeled landing gear. Transport Canada, which is the aviation
authority for Canada, issued its AD after Bell replaced the
airworthiness limitations for the NLG main fitting to bell crank bolt
P/N M084-20H125-101 and NLG main fitting P/N M084-20H011-107 with an
airworthiness limitation for the next higher assembly, NLG assembly P/N
429-336-100-101. According to Transport Canada, the NLG assembly's life
limit is reduced to 50,000 retirement index number (RIN) or 4,500 hours
time-in-service. Transport Canada advises that failure to replace
components prior to established airworthiness limitations could result
in an unsafe condition.
We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing
this AD, but we received no comments on the NPRM.
These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of
Canada and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to
our bilateral agreement with Canada, Transport Canada, its technical
representative, has notified us of the unsafe condition described in
the Transport Canada AD. We are issuing this AD because we evaluated
all information provided by Transport Canada 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 Transport Canada AD
The Transport Canada AD applies to certain serial-numbered
helicopters, whereas this AD applies to all Bell Model 429 helicopters
with the affected NLG assembly installed.
Related Service Information
We reviewed Bell Alert Service Bulletin No. 429-15-24, Revision A,
dated September 23, 2015, which specifies updating the Bell 429
maintenance manual with Revision 24 to incorporate the revised
airworthiness limitations for the NLG assembly, NLG main fitting to
bellcrank bolt, and the NLG main fitting.
Costs of Compliance
We estimate that this AD affects less than 75 helicopters of U.S.
Registry (as this AD does not apply to Bell Model 429 helicopters with
skid landing gear). At an average labor rate of $85 per hour, replacing
a NLG assembly requires 10 work-hours, and required parts cost
$104,648, for a cost of $105,498 per helicopter and up to $7,912,350
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.
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