DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-0125; Product Identifier 2019-SW-104-AD; Amendment
39-21027; AD 2020-02-23]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD)
certain Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350B1, AS350B2,
AS350B3, AS350C, AS350D, A350D1, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2,
AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters. This AD requires repetitive
inspections of the installation of the pull cables on the emergency
float kits. This AD was prompted by the results of an accident
investigation and subsequent reports of difficulty pulling the
emergency float kit float activation handle installed on the pilot
cyclic. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on
DATES: This AD is effective February 28, 2020.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of February 28,
The FAA must receive comments on this AD by March 30, 2020.
ADDRESSES: You may send comments, using the procedures found in
11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow
for submitting comments.
Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New
Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.
Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
For service information identified in this final rule, contact Dart
Aerospace LTD., 1270 Aberdeen St., Hawkesbury, ON, K6A 1K7, Canada;
telephone: 1-613-632-5200; Fax: 1-613-632-5246; or at www.dartaero.com.
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 information on the availability of this
material at the FAA, call 817-222-5110.
It is also available on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov
by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-0125.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-
0125; 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 final rule, the regulatory 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
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Johann S. Magana, Aerospace Engineer,
Cabin Safety and Environmental Systems Section, FAA, Los Angeles ACO
Branch, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-
627-5322; fax: 562-627-5210; email: email@example.com.
This AD is prompted by the results of an investigation of a March
11, 2018, fatal accident in which an Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B2
helicopter impacted a body of water during an autorotation. The left-
hand and right-hand emergency floats did not inflate symmetrically and
the helicopter subsequently capsized.
During the accident investigation, the FAA learned of reports of
difficulty pulling the emergency float kit float activation handle
installed on the pilot cyclic. Asymmetric inflation of the float system
and difficulty deploying the float system from the float activation
handle installed on the pilot cyclic can be caused by improperly
installed pull cables. These emergency float kits utilize a system of
pull cables to activate and release compressed gas from the float
cylinders into the floats. Proper installation of the pull cables
allows the two float cylinders installed on the aircraft to activate
simultaneously, allowing for proper distribution of gas to all floats
in the system. Improperly installed pull cables, if not addressed,
could result in loss of the left- or right-hand float, causing the
helicopter to roll to one side but remain buoyant, or loss of both
floats, causing the helicopter to capsize underwater.
These emergency float systems are installed on Airbus Helicopters
Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350C, AS350D, and
AS350D1 helicopters under Supplemental Type Certificate (STC)
SR00470LA, and on Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and
AS355NP helicopters under STC SR00645LA. Both STCs are held by Apical
Industries, Inc., d/b/a DART Aerospace (DART). Following the
investigation, DART developed a test tool to verify correct
installation and rigging of the pull cables and subsequently issued
service information to provide instructions for using the test tool.
The FAA approved these instructions to correct the unsafe condition on
November 13, 2019. Accordingly, the FAA is issuing this AD to address
the unsafe condition on these products.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA has reviewed DART Aerospace Service Bulletin SB-2018-07,
Revision D, dated November 25, 2019. This service information contains
procedures for inspecting the installation of the pull cables on 20326-
series part-numbered emergency float kits (e.g., inspecting for
activation pull forces on the float activation handle), readjusting the
cable rigging if improperly installed, and contacting DART if
readjusting the rigging is not successful. This service information
also contains optional procedures for deactivating the emergency float
system as inoperative.
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 has also reviewed DART Aerospace Service Bulletin SB-2018-
07, Revision B, dated October 8, 2019, and DART Aerospace Service
Bulletin SB-2018-07, Revision C, dated November 14, 2019. The actions
specified in these service bulletins are the same as those specified in
DART Aerospace Service Bulletin SB-2018-07, Revision D, dated November
25, 2019. DART Aerospace Service Bulletin SB-2018-07, Revision C, dated
November 14, 2019, adds a note that includes a reference to the
instructions for continued airworthiness for a specific float system
configuration that was not in DART Aerospace Service Bulletin SB-2018-
07, Revision B, dated October 8, 2019. DART Aerospace Service Bulletin
SB-2018-07, Revision D, dated November 25, 2019, clarifies certain
references to the operational instructions manual. These differences do
not affect how operators would accomplish the actions necessary to
address the identified unsafe condition.
The FAA is issuing this AD after evaluating all the relevant
information and determining the unsafe condition described previously
is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type
This AD requires repetitive inspections of the installation of the
pull cables on the emergency float kits and corrective action if
Differences Between This AD and the Service Information
DART Aerospace Service Bulletin SB-2018-07, Revision D, dated
November 25, 2019, specifies accomplishing the actions before March 31,
2020, while this AD requires compliance within 100 hours time-in-
service (TIS) or 30 days after the effective date of this AD, whichever
FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date
Section 553(b)(3)(B) of the Administrative Procedure Act (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 rulemaking.
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 waiving notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule
because improperly installed pull cables may lead to asymmetric
inflation of the float system or difficulty deploying the float system
from the float activation handle installed on the pilot cyclic, which
could result in the loss of one or more floats. Loss of the left- or
right-hand float could cause the helicopter to roll to one side but
remain buoyant, while loss of both floats could cause the helicopter to
capsize underwater. Because of the high utilization rate of helicopters
with these emergency float kits installed, and because these
helicopters primarily conduct operations over water, the FAA determined
a compliance time of no more than 100 hours TIS or 30 days, whichever
occurs first, was required to correct the unsafe condition. This
compliance time is shorter than the time necessary for the public to
comment and for publication of the final rule. 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
reasons 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
This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight
safety and was not preceded by notice and an opportunity for public
comment. However, the FAA invites you to send any written data, views,
or arguments about this final rule. Send your comments to an address
listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include the docket number FAA-2020-
0125 and Product Identifier 2019-SW-104-AD at the beginning of your
comments. The FAA specifically invites comments on the overall
regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this final
rule. The FAA will consider all comments received by the closing date
and may amend this final rule because of those comments.
The FAA will post all comments received, without change, to https://www.
regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide.
The FAA will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal
contact received about this final rule.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
The requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) do not
apply when an agency finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553 to adopt
a rule without prior notice and comment. Because FAA has determined
that it has good cause to adopt this rule without notice and comment,
RFA analysis is not required.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 71 helicopters of U.S.
registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this AD:
||3 work-hours x $85 per hour =
$255 per inspection
The inspection requires the use of
a pull cable test kit, which
costs $2,000. Only one pull cable test kit is needed per operator such
that the operator may use the same pull cable test kit on any affected
helicopter. The FAA has no way of determining what on-condition actions
may be required following the inspection required by this AD, the
number of helicopters that might need on-condition actions, or the
costs to perform the on-condition actions.
According to the manufacturer, some or all of the costs of this AD
may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on
affected individuals. The FAA does not control warranty coverage for
affected individuals. As a result, the FAA has included all known costs
in the cost estimate.
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.
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
Order 12866, and
(2) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska.
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