DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2019-0827; Product Identifier 2019-SW-014-AD]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters (Type Certificate
Previously Held by Eurocopter France) Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive
2011-12-07 for Eurocopter France (now Airbus Helicopters) Model SA-
365C, SA-365C1, SA-365C2, SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2, AS 365 N3, and
SA-366G1 helicopters. AD 2011-12-07 currently requires repetitively
inspecting the adhesive bead between the bushings and the Starflex star
(Starflex) arms and the Starflex arm ends. Since the FAA issued AD
2011-12-07, Airbus Helicopters has developed an improved Starflex. This
proposed AD would retain the requirements of AD 2011-12-07 and revise
the Applicability paragraph by omitting helicopters with the improved
Starflex installed. The FAA is proposing this AD to address the unsafe
condition on these products.
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by December
ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the
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 http://www.regulations.
gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2019-0827;
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 (EASA) AD, the
economic evaluation, 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 receipt.
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
html. You may view this 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, Senior Aviation Safety
Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA,
10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110;
The FAA invites you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting
written comments, data, or views. The FAA also invites comments
relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts
that might result from adopting the proposals in this document. The
most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal,
explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting
data. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments,
commenters should send only one copy of written comments, or if
comments are filed electronically, commenters should submit only one
The FAA will file in the docket all comments that the FAA receives,
as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with
FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on
this proposal, the FAA will consider all comments received on or before
the closing date for comments. The FAA will consider comments filed
after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without
incurring expense or delay. The FAA may change this proposal in light
of the comments received.
The FAA issued AD 2011-12-07, Amendment 39-16714 (76 FR 35346, June
17, 2011) ("AD 2011-12-07") for Eurocopter France (now Airbus
Helicopters) Model SA-365C, SA-365C1, SA-365C2, SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-
365N2, AS 365 N3, and SA-366G1 helicopters. AD 2011-12-07 requires
repetitively inspecting the adhesive bead between the bushings and the
Starflex arms for a crack, a gap, and loss of the adhesive bead,
inspecting the Starflex arm ends for delamination, and replacing the
Starflex if any of these conditions are found. AD 2011-12-07 was
prompted by three cases of deterioration of a Starflex arm end. In two
of these cases, the deterioration caused high amplitude vibrations in
flight, compelling the pilot to make a precautionary landing. The
requirements of AD 2011-12-07 are intended to prevent failure of the
Starflex, high-amplitude vibrations in flight, and subsequent loss of
control of the helicopter.
Actions Since AD 2011-12-07 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2011-12-07, Airbus Helicopters has
developed new part-numbered Starflex, 365A31-1212-00 and 365A31-1213-
00, with different material. This change in material improves the
reliability and technical performance of the Starflex, improves
temperature-related behavior in the area of the Starflex arm ends, and
increases dimension margins. Subsequently, Airbus Helicopters has
extended the inspection interval of Starflex arm ends with these
Starflex installed. Airbus Helicopters identifies helicopters with
Starflex part number 365A31-1212-00 or 365A31-1213-00 installed as
Modification (MOD) 0762C37.
Accordingly, EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member
States of the European Union, issued AD No. 2008-0165R1, dated June 30,
2017 (EASA AD 2008-0165R1), to address this unsafe condition for Airbus
Helicopters Model SA 365 N, SA 365 N1, AS 365 N2, AS 365 N3, SA 365 C,
SA 365 C1, SA 365 C2, SA 365 C3 and SA 366 G1 helicopters, except
helicopters with MOD 0762C37 installed in production. EASA advises that
the Airbus Helicopters Starflex manufactured with improved materials
make the 10-hour repetitive inspections specified in the original issue
of EASA AD 2008-0165R1 unnecessary. EASA AD 2008-0165R1 retains the
repetitive inspections from the original issue but does not apply to
helicopters with the new Starflex.
Also since the FAA issued AD 2011-12-07, Eurocopter France changed
its name to Airbus Helicopters. This proposed AD reflects that change
and updates the contact information to obtain service documentation.
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 determined that an
unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of
the same type designs.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed one document that co-publishes four Airbus
Helicopters Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (EASB) identification
numbers: No. 05.00.51 for Model 365N-series helicopters, No. 05.35 for
Model 366G1 helicopters, No. 05.28 for Model 365C-series helicopters,
and No. 05.00.21 for non FAA-type certificated military helicopters,
all Revision 4 and dated November 20, 2014. EASB Nos. 05.00.51, 05.35,
and 05.28 are proposed for incorporation by reference in this proposed
AD. EASB No. 05.00.21 is not proposed for incorporation by reference in
this proposed AD.
This service information specifies visually inspecting the adhesive
bead on the bushes of the Starflex arm ends for bonding failure of the
bushes and distortion of the Starflex arm ends. This service
information also specifies inspecting the leading edges and the
trailing edges of the Starflex arm ends for delamination.
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.
Other Related Service Information
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Master Servicing Manual (MSM)
AS 365 N for Model SA-365N helicopters, MSM AS 365 N1 for Model SA-
365N1 helicopters, MSM AS 365 N2 for Model AS-365N2 helicopters, and
MSM AS 365 N3 for Model AS 365 N3 helicopters, all Revision 7 and dated
October 9, 2017. This service information provides a schedule of
maintenance tasks for the helicopters.
The FAA also reviewed one document that co-publishes four
Eurocopter EASB identification numbers: No. 05.00.51 for Model 365N-
series helicopters, No. 05.35 for Model 366G1 helicopters, No. 05.28
for Model 365C-series helicopters, and No. 05.00.21 for non FAA-type
certificated military helicopters, all Revision 3 and dated August 18,
2008. This service information specifies the same Accomplishment
Instructions as Revision 4, which is issued under the name Airbus
Helicopters, although Revision 4 excludes helicopters that have MOD
Proposed AD Requirements
This proposed AD would retain the requirements of AD 2011-12-07 to
repetitively inspect the adhesive bead between the bushings and the
Starflex arms for a crack, a gap, and loss of the adhesive bead, and
repetitively inspect the Starflex arm ends for delamination. However,
this proposed AD would not apply to helicopters with MOD 0762C37 in-
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD uses the word "check," whereas this proposed AD uses
the word "inspect" instead. In some ADs, the FAA uses the word
"check" to designate specific actions that may be performed by the
owner/operator (pilot). An "inspection" is a maintenance action that
must be performed by a certificated person as specified in 14 CFR 43.3.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 35 helicopters of
U.S. Registry. The FAA estimates that operators may incur the following
costs in order to comply with this AD. Labor costs are estimated at $85
Inspecting the Starflex would take about 0.25 work-hour for an
estimated cost of $21 per helicopter and $735 for the U.S. fleet per
inspection cycle. Replacing the Starflex would take about 10 work-hours
and parts would cost about $65,900 for an estimated cost of $66,750.
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
(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.
The FAA prepared an economic evaluation of the estimated costs to
comply with this proposed AD and placed it in the AD docket.
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 removing Airworthiness Directive (AD)
2011-12-07, Amendment 39-16714 (76 FR 35346, June 17, 2011), and adding
the following new AD: