DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-0238; Product Identifier 2018-SW-072-AD]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive
for all Airbus Helicopters Model EC130B4 and EC130T2 helicopters. This
proposed AD was prompted by a report that a changed manufacturing
process for the tail rotor blades (TRB) was implemented, affecting the
structural characteristics of the blades and generating a new part
number for these blades. This proposed AD would require re-identifying
each affected TRB having a certain part number and serial number and
establishing a life limit for the new part numbers. This AD also
prohibits installation of any affected TRB identified with the old part
number on any helicopter. The FAA is proposing this AD to address the
condition on these products.
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by April
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
instructions 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 NPRM, 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 https://www.airbus.
com/helicopters/services/technical-support.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 information on the availability of this material
at the FAA, call 817-222 5110.
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-2020-0238;
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 NPRM, the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI),
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 FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristi Bradley, Aviation Safety
Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA,
10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5485;
The FAA invites you to send any written relevant data, views, or
arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed
under the ADDRESSES section. Include "Docket No. FAA-2020-0238;
Product Identifier 2018-SW-072-AD" at the beginning of your comments.
The FAA specifically invites comments on the overall regulatory,
economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this NPRM. The FAA will
consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this
NPRM 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 NPRM.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (previously European
Aviation Safety Agency) (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the
Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2018-0182,
dated August 28, 2018 (referred to after this as "the MCAI"), to
correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus Helicopters EC130B4 and
EC130T2 helicopters. EASA advises that a changed manufacturing process
for TRBs was implemented, affecting the structural characteristic of
the TRBs and generating a new part number for these blades. Because
this is a newly established part number, no service life limit
currently exists for this part. This EASA AD identifies a service life
limit for the newly established TRB part numbers, which, if not
required, might result in TRBs exceeding their life limit. This
condition, if not corrected, could lead to loss of the TRB and
subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. The EASA AD also
prohibits installation of any affected TRB identified with the old part
number on any helicopter, and prohibits rework, repair, or modification
of any affected part.
You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the internet at
https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
Airbus Helicopters has issued Alert Service Bulletin EC130-04A007,
dated July 18, 2018 ("ASB EC130-04A007"). This service information
describes procedures for re-identifying a TRB with P/N 350A333002.02
for certain serial numbers, as specified in ASB EC130-04A007.
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.
This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another
country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant
to our bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority, the FAA
has been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and
service information referenced above. The FAA is proposing this AD
because the FAA evaluated all the relevant information and determined
the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop
on other products of the same type design.
Proposed Requirements of This NPRM
This proposed AD would require re-identifying each affected TRB
with a new part number, establishing a life limit for the new TRB part
number, and would prohibit installation of any affected TRB identified
with the old part number on any helicopter.
Difference Between This Proposed AD and the MCAI or Service Information
EASA AD 2018-0182 specifies to replace TRBs having P/N
350A333002.05. However, this part number is not installed on in-service
helicopters and is not addressed in Airbus Helicopters ASB EC130-
04A007. Therefore, this AD does not require replacing TRBs having P/N
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 253 helicopters of
U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with
this proposed AD:
Estimated Costs for Required Actions *
|1 work-hour x $85 per hour =
* The FAA has received no definitive
data that would enable us to provide
cost estimates for the additional applicable maintenance instructions
specified in this proposed AD.
** The FAA has received no definitive data on the parts costs for required
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 above, I certify this proposed
(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.
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 adding the following new airworthiness