DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2018-0336; Product Identifier 2017-SW-130-AD; Amendment
39-19588; AD 2019-05-06]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for
Helicopters Deutschland GmbH (Airbus Helicopters) Model EC135P1,
EC135P2, EC135P2+, EC135P3, EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, and EC135T3
helicopters. This AD requires replacing the retaining ring and
inspecting the hoist cable hook assembly (hook). This AD was prompted
by a report that a hook detached from the hoist cable. The actions of
this AD are intended to address an unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD is effective April 17, 2019.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain document listed in this AD as of April 17, 2019.
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-2018-0336.
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-
0336; 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: David Hatfield, Aviation Safety
Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA,
10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110;
On September 7, 2018 at 83 FR 45364, 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 EC135P1, EC135P2, EC135P2+, EC135P3, EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+,
and EC135T3 helicopters. The NPRM proposed to require, within 90 hours
time-in-service (TIS) and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 180
hours TIS, replacing the retaining ring and inspecting the elastomeric
energy absorber for a permanent compression set, and if necessary,
replacing the elastomeric energy absorber before the next hoist
operation. The proposed requirements were intended to prevent
detachment of a hook from a hoist cable resulting in in-flight failure
of the hoist, which could result in injury to persons being lifted.
The NPRM was prompted by AD No. 2017-0199, dated October 11, 2017,
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 EC135P1, EC135P2, EC135P2+, EC135P3, EC135T1,
EC135T2, EC135T2+, EC135T3, EC635P2+, EC635P3, EC635T1, EC635T2+, and
EC635T3 helicopters. EASA advises of a report of a hook separating from
the hoist cable. According to EASA, an investigation determined that
failure of the internal retaining ring combined with a permanent
compression set of the elastomeric energy absorber caused the
separation. EASA states that this condition, if not corrected, could
lead to the detachment of an external load or person from the hoist,
possibly resulting in personal injury or injury to persons on the
ground. The EASA AD consequently requires repetitive inspections of the
hook assembly and replacement of the retaining ring.
EASA considers its AD an interim measure and states that further AD
action may follow.
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
Germany and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant
to our bilateral agreement with Germany, 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.
We consider this AD to be an interim action. The design approval
holder is currently developing a modification that will address the
unsafe condition identified in this AD. Once this modification is
developed, approved, and available, we might consider additional
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD requires corrective actions in terms of months in
service. This AD requires compliance within 90 hours TIS and thereafter
at intervals not to exceed 180 hours TIS. The EASA AD applies to Airbus
Helicopters Model EC635P2+, EC635P3, EC635T1, EC635T2+, and EC635T3
helicopters. This AD does not because these model helicopters have no
FAA type certificate.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
We reviewed Goodrich Service Bulletin No. 44301-10-17, Revision 4,
dated July 26, 2017 (SB 44301-10-17).
SB 44301-10-17 is attached as an appendix to Airbus Helicopters Alert
Service Bulletin No. ASB EC135-85A-069, Revision 0, dated August 2,
2017 (ASB EC135-85A-069). SB 443301-10-17 is incorporated by reference
in this AD. ASB EC135-85A-069 is not incorporated by reference in this
AD. This service information specifies an initial and repetitive
inspections of the hook assembly and replacement of the retaining ring.
If the inspections of elastomeric energy absorber detect a permanent
compression set, this service information also specifies replacing the
elastomeric energy absorber.
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 278 helicopters of U.S. Registry.
We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order to
comply with this AD. Labor costs are estimated at $85 per work-hour.
Inspecting the hoist cable hook assembly and replacing the
retaining ring requires 0.5 work-hour and parts are minimal for an
estimated cost of $43 per helicopter and $11,954 for the U.S. fleet per
inspection cycle. Replacing an elastomeric energy absorber requires 0.5
work-hour and parts cost $2,152 for an estimated cost of $2,195 per
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