DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2019-1056; Product Identifier 2018-SW-047-AD]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters (Previously
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive
2009-25-09 for Eurocopter France (now Airbus Helicopters) Model SA 330
F, G, and J helicopters. AD 2009-25-09 currently requires re-adjusting
the torque of the main gearbox (MGB) flexible coupling bolts. Since the
FAA issued AD 2009-25-09, Airbus Helicopters has modified the MGB
overhaul and repair procedures, which corrects the unsafe condition.
Additionally, the FAA-validation for Model SA330F and G helicopters has
been cancelled. This proposed AD would retain the requirements of AD
2009-25-09 but would revise the applicability by excluding Model SA330F
and G helicopters and exclude MGBs that have been subject to the
modified procedures. The actions of this proposed AD are intended to
address the unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by February
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-2019-1056;
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
may view 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: Jignesh Patel, Aerospace Engineer,
Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101
Hillwood Pkwy, Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email
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 received, 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
The FAA issued AD 2009-25-09, Amendment 39-16128 (74 FR 66045,
December 14, 2009) ("AD 2009-25-09") for Eurocopter France (now
Airbus Helicopters) Model SA 330 F, G, and J helicopters. AD 2009-25-09
requires re-adjusting the tightening torque load of the MGB input
flexible coupling-to-flange attachment bolts. AD 2009-25-09 was
prompted by EASA AD No. 2008-0049-E, dated March 3, 2008 and corrected
March 7, 2008 (EASA AD 2008-0049-E), issued by EASA, which is the
Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, to correct
an unsafe condition on Model SA 330 F, G, and J helicopters. The
actions of AD 2009-25-29 were intended to prevent progressive fatigue
failure of the coupling discs, caused by excessive fretting on the
faces and in the bolt holes of the coupling discs, which could result
in loss of the MGB input, loss of the drive transmission, and
subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
Actions Since AD 2009-25-09 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2009-25-09, EASA has issued AD No. 2008-
0049R1, dated December 18, 2015 (EASA AD 2008-0049R1). EASA advises
that since EASA AD 2008-0049-E was issued, Airbus Helicopters has
improved its procedures for assembling the flexible coupling-to-flanges
during MGB overhaul and maintenance of individual flexible couplings.
EASA further states that the improved maintenance procedures ensure the
correct torqueing of the attachment bolts of the flexible couplings.
Because of these improved procedures, EASA AD 2008-0049R1 states that
installing a coupling-to-flange assembly that has been subject to
improved maintenance procedures after April 1, 2015, is an acceptable
method to comply with the requirements of that AD. The FAA agrees with
EASA's determination and therefore proposes to change AD 2009-25-09
Additionally, at the request of Airbus Helicopters, Model SA330F
and G helicopters have been removed from the
FAA Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS). According to Airbus
Helicopters, none of these aircraft models are in existence. EASA, the
state of design, has also removed these models from its TCDS. As a
result, the FAA is removing these models from the applicability.
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 Eurocopter Emergency Alert Service Bulletin No.
05.95, Revision 0, dated March 3, 2008, and Airbus Helicopters
Emergency Alert Service Bulletin No. 05.95, Revision 1, dated October
22, 2015. This service information describes procedures for readjusting
or checking the tightening torque load of the hardware attaching the
flexible coupling to the sliding coupling flange and the bolts
attaching the flexible coupling to the fixed coupling flange. Revision
1 of this service information excludes from its applicability certain
flexible coupling assemblies that have undergone the improved
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 retain the attachment hardware torque
verification and re-adjustment requirements of AD 2009-25-09, and would
revise the applicability paragraph by excluding Model SA330F and G
helicopters and by excluding input flexible coupling flange assemblies
that have been installed in an MGB that has been overhauled after April
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 16 helicopters of
U.S. Registry. Labor costs are estimated at $85 per work-hour. Based on
these numbers, the FAA estimates that operators may incur the following
costs in order to comply with this AD.
Re-adjusting the tightening torque on the flexible coupling-to-
flange attachment bolts would take about 8 work-hours for an estimated
cost of $680 per helicopter and $10,880 to the U.S. fleet. For MGB
input flexible coupling flange assemblies with more than 75 hours time-
in-service, inspecting the tightening torque load on the flexible
coupling-to-flange attachment bolts would take about 10 work-hours for
an estimated cost of $850 per helicopter and $13,600 to the U.S. fleet.
If required, replacing a damaged flexible coupling would take about
1 work-hour in addition to those required for disassembling and
inspecting the flexible coupling flange assembly and required parts
would cost about $2,046 for an estimated cost of $2,131 per helicopter.
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.
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)
2009-25-09, Amendment 39-16128 (74 FR 66045, December 14, 2009), and
adding the following new AD: