DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2019-0656; Product Identifier 2019-SW-039-AD; Amendment
39-19722; AD 2019-17-02]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of
ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD)
Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH (Airbus Helicopters) Model EC135P1,
EC135P2, EC135P2+, EC135P3, EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, and EC135T3
helicopters. This AD requires inspecting certain part-numbered
actuators for corrosion, and removing them from service as necessary.
This AD also requires reporting certain information to Airbus
Helicopters. This AD is prompted by a hard landing of a helicopter and
discovery of a ruptured and displaced tie bar inside the piston of the
longitudinal single-axis actuator of the main rotor actuator (MRA). The
actions of this AD are intended to address an unsafe condition on these
DATES: This AD becomes effective September 25, 2019.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain document listed in this AD as of September 25,
The FAA must receive comments on this AD by November 12, 2019.
ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the
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
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2019-
0656; 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 service
information that is incorporated by reference, 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 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
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-2019-0656.
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;
This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight
safety, and the FAA did not provide you with notice and an opportunity
to provide your comments prior to it becoming effective. However, 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 resulted
from adopting this AD. The most helpful comments reference a specific
portion of the AD, 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 them only one time. 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 rulemaking during the
comment period. The FAA will consider all the comments received and may
conduct additional rulemaking based on those comments.
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD No. 2019-0087-E, dated April 24,
2019, to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters Deutschland
GmbH (AHD), formerly Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH, Eurocopter
Espa[ntilde]a S.A. Model EC135 P1, EC135 P2, EC135 P2+, EC135 P3, EC135
T1, EC135 T2, EC135 T2+, EC135 T3, EC635 P2+, EC635 P3, EC635 T1, EC635
T2+ and EC635 T3 helicopters with a longitudinal single-axis actuator
part number (P/N) L673M20A1008 or P/N L673M30A2111; a collective
single[hyphen]axis actuator P/N L673M20A1012, P/N L673M30A1211, or P/N
E673M30A1201; or a lateral single[hyphen]axis actuator P/N L673M20A1011
or P/N L673M30A2311, that have accumulated 6 or more years since
manufacturing date or last overhaul, whichever occurred later,
installed. EASA advises of a report of a hard landing by a Model EC135
helicopter. Inspection revealed that the tie bar inside the piston of
the longitudinal single-axis actuator of the MRA was ruptured and
EASA states that this condition, if not detected and corrected,
could lead to loss of control of the helicopter, possibly resulting in
damage to the helicopter and/or injury to occupants. Accordingly, the
EASA AD requires a one-time inspection for corrosion, reporting
inspection results to AHD, and depending on findings, replacing parts
at different compliance times. The EASA AD also allows installing an
MRA that has any of the affected parts installed, provided the affected
parts are inspected and replaced as required by the AD. The EASA AD
states it is considered an interim action and further AD action may
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 the EASA AD. The FAA is issuing this AD
because the FAA 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.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
Airbus Helicopters has issued Emergency Alert Service Bulletin No.
EC135-67A-039, Revision 1, dated April 23, 2019. This service
information specifies reviewing records to determine the date of
manufacture or date of last overhaul of certain part-numbered single-
axis actuators, procedures to visually inspect the single-axis
actuators for the external appearance of corrosion, instruction to take
photos of any corroded single-axis actuators, and report certain
information to Airbus Helicopters. This service information also
specifies replacing single-axis actuators and references Airbus
Helicopters Service Bulletin No. EC135-67-040, Revision 0, dated April
25, 2019 (SB EC135-67-040), which is not incorporated by reference in
this AD, for inspection criteria of serviceable parts and replacement
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
Airbus Helicopters has issued SB EC135-67-040, which identifies
procedures to inspect the longitudinal, collective, and lateral
single[hyphen]axis actuators for corrosion and to replace those parts.
This AD requires visually inspecting for corrosion all external
surfaces of certain part-numbered longitudinal, collective, and lateral
single[hyphen]axis actuators that have accumulated 6 or more years
since manufacturing date or last overhaul, whichever occurs later.
Based on the inspection outcome, this AD requires removing the single-
axis actuators from service at different compliance times. This AD also
requires reporting certain information, along with photos of any
corrosion, to Airbus Helicopters.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD applies to Model EC635 P2+, EC635 P3, EC635 T1, EC635
T2+ and EC635 T3 helicopters, whereas this AD does not because none of
those models are FAA type-certificated. The EASA AD requires inspecting
the single-axis actuators for the, ``external appearance of
corrosion,'' whereas this AD requires inspecting for any corrosion. The
EASA AD specifies longer compliance times for parts that have
accumulated 6 to 10 years that do not have any corrosion. The FAA plans
to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to give the public an
opportunity to comment on these longer compliance times.
The FAA considers this AD interim action. If final action is later
identified, the FAA might consider further rulemaking then.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 311 helicopters of U.S.
Registry. Labor costs are estimated at $85 per work-hour. Based on
these numbers, the FAA estimates the following costs in order to comply
with this AD.
Inspecting the single-axis actuators takes about 2 work-hours for
an estimated cost of $170 per helicopter and $52,870 for the U.S.
fleet. Replacing a single-axis actuator takes about 7 work-hours and parts
about $20,000, for an estimated cost of $20,595 per replacement. Reporting
the required information takes about 1 work-hour for an estimated cost
of $85 per helicopter and $26,435 for the U.S. fleet.
Paperwork Reduction Act
A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not
required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for
failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of
information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. The OMB
Control Number for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public
reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be
approximately 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing
instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and
maintaining the data needed, completing and reviewing the collection of
information. All responses to this collection of information are
mandatory. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other
aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for
reducing this burden to: Information Collection Clearance Officer,
Federal Aviation Administration, 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, TX
Justification for Immediate Adoption and Determination of the Effective
Section 553(b)(3)(B) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5
U.S.C.) authorizes agencies to dispense with notice and comment
procedures for rules when the agency, for ``good cause'' finds that
those procedures are ``impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the
public interest.'' Under this section, an agency, upon finding good
cause, may issue a final rule without seeking comment prior to the
An unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of
this AD without providing an opportunity for public comments prior to
adoption. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public
justifies foregoing notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule
because some of the required actions must be completed within 3 days.
Therefore, notice and opportunity for prior public comment are
impracticable and contrary to public interest pursuant to 5 U.S.C.
553(b)(3)(B). In addition, for the reason(s) stated above, the FAA
finds that good cause exists pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d) for making
this amendment effective in less than 30 days.
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 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, I certify that this AD:
1. Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order
2. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska.
The FAA 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
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