DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2017-0433; Product Identifier 2016-SW-078-AD; Amendment
39-19602; AD 2019-06-04]
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 (BHTC) Model 429 helicopters. This AD
requires inspecting each main rotor pitch link rod end bearing assembly
(bearing) for wear and play. This AD was prompted by reports of worn
bearings. The actions of this AD are intended to prevent an unsafe
condition on these products.
DATES: This AD is effective May 7, 2019.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain document listed in this AD as of May 7, 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. It is also available on the internet at http://www.
regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2017-0433.
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-2017-
0433; 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, 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 March 8, 2018, at 83 FR 9818, 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 BHTC Model 429 helicopters,
serial numbers 57001 and larger, with a bearing part number (P/N) 429-
010-433-101 or 429-010-433-103 installed. The NPRM proposed to require
inspecting each bearing for wear and play. The AD was prompted by
reports of worn bearings. The proposed requirements were intended to
prevent a worn bearing, which could result in failure of a bearing,
which could lead to reduced helicopter handling, damage to other
components, and subsequent loss of helicopter control.
The NPRM was prompted by Canadian AD No. CF-2016-39, dated December
12, 2016 (Transport Canada AD CF-2016-39), issued by Transport Canada,
which is the aviation authority for Canada, to correct an unsafe
condition for BHTC Model 429 helicopters, serial numbers 57001 and
subsequent. Transport Canada advises of reports of worn bearings
adversely affecting the helicopters' handling qualities. Transport
Canada states the scheduled inspection interval of 12 months or 800
hours is not sufficient to detect and correct a worn bearing under the
current wear rate. Additionally, according to Transport Canada, the
combination of the blade weight, positioning of the swashplate, and the
preload of elastomers can make bearing play difficult to detect during
a preflight exterior check. Transport Canada determined it necessary to
implement an inspection frequent enough to detect a worn bearing in
order to prevent a bearing from failing, adversely affecting handling
qualities, and damaging adjacent components. These conditions could
lead to loss of control of the helicopter. Transport Canada AD CF-2016-
39 therefore requires inspecting bearing P/N 429-010-433-101/-103 for
play and potential wear and replacing it if necessary, within 30 days
from the effective date of its AD and at subsequent intervals not to
exceed 50 hours air time.
After our NPRM was published, we received a comment from one
The commenter questioned the need for the proposed AD. The
commenter stated that Bell Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin 429-11-03,
which was issued in 2011, already requires inspections of the pitch
We disagree. While an operator may incorporate the procedures in
the Bell Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin into its maintenance
program, not all operators are required to do so. In order for the
corrective actions in the service information to become mandatory, and
to correct the unsafe condition identified in the NPRM, the FAA must
issue an AD.
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, reviewed the relevant
information, considered the comments
received, 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
This AD requires initially inspecting the bearing within 20 hours
time-in-service, while the Transport Canada AD requires the initial
inspection within 30 days.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
We reviewed Bell Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin 429-11-03,
Revision A, dated January 13, 2015 (ASB), which specifies inspecting
bearing P/N 429-010-433-101 and P/N 429-010-433-103 within 10 flight
hours and every 50 hours thereafter for play and potential wear.
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 64 helicopters of U.S. Registry
and that labor costs average $85 per work-hour. Based on these
estimates, we expect the following costs:
Inspecting the bearing requires 2 work-hours and no parts
for a cost of $170 per helicopter and $10,880 for the U.S. fleet per
Replacing a -101 bearing requires 1 work-hour and $3,560
for parts for a cost of $3,645 per bearing. Replacing a -103 bearing
requires 1 work-hour and $3,365 for parts for a cost of $3,450 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
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