DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-0270; Product Identifier 2019-SW-018-AD]
Airworthiness Directives; Bell Textron Inc. (Type Certificate
Previously Held by Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.) Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM); reopening
of comment period.
SUMMARY: The FAA is revising an earlier proposed Airworthiness
Directive (AD) for Bell Textron Inc. (Bell) Model 205B helicopters
which proposed to require reducing the life limit of certain tail rotor
(T/R) blades and re-identifying certain T/R blades with a new part
number (P/N). The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) was prompted by
flight testing and fatigue analysis results. This action revises the
NPRM by adding additional T/R part numbers (P/Ns) to the proposed
applicability. The FAA is proposing this AD to address the unsafe
condition on these products. Since these actions would impose an
additional burden over those in the NPRM, the FAA is reopening the
comment period to allow the public the chance to comment on these
DATES: The comment period for the NPRM published in the Federal
Register on March 25, 2020 (85 FR 16916), is reopened.
The FAA must receive comments on this SNPRM by January 22, 2021.
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.
For service information identified in this SNPRM, contact Bell
Helicopter Textron, Inc., P.O. Box 482, Fort Worth, TX 76101; telephone
817-280-3391; fax 817-280-6466; or at https://www.bellcustomer.com. You
may view the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the
Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321,
Fort Worth, TX 76177.
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-2020-0270;
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 SNPRM, 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: Kuethe Harmon, Safety Management
Program Manager, DSCO Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX
76177; telephone 817-222-5198; email email@example.com.
The FAA invites you to send any written relevant data, views, or
arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed
under ADDRESSES. Include "Docket No. FAA-2020-0270; Product Identifier
2019-SW-018-AD" at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful
comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the
reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. The FAA
will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend
this proposal because of those comments.
Except for Confidential Business Information (CBI) as described in
the following paragraph, and other information as described in 14 CFR
11.35, the FAA will post all comments received, without change, to https:
//www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide.
The agency will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal
contact received about this proposal.
Confidential Business Information
CBI is commercial or financial information that is both customarily
and actually treated as private by its owner. Under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), CBI is exempt from public
disclosure. If your comments responsive to this NPRM contain commercial
or financial information that is customarily treated as private, that
you actually treat as private, and that is relevant or responsive to
this NPRM, it is important that you clearly designate the submitted
comments as CBI. Please mark each page of your submission containing
CBI as "PROPIN." The FAA will treat such marked submissions as
confidential under the FOIA, and they will not be placed in the public
docket of this NPRM. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to
Kuethe Harmon, Safety Management Program Manager, DSCO Branch, FAA,
10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5198;
email firstname.lastname@example.org. Any commentary that the FAA receives which
is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public
docket for this rulemaking.
The FAA issued an NPRM to amend 14 CFR part 39 to include an AD
that would apply to Bell Model 205B helicopters with a T/R blade P/N
212-010-750-009 or 212-010-750-105 installed. The NPRM published in the
Federal Register on March 25, 2020 (85 FR 16916). The NPRM proposed to
require reducing the life limit of each affected T/R blade; re-
identifying the T/R blade P/N on its data plate by vibro-etching to
change the last three digits of the existing P/N; creating a component
history card or equivalent record; revising the Airworthiness
Limitations section of the existing maintenance manual for your
helicopter to annotate the new P/N and revised life limit; and prohibit
installing any affected T/R blade that has not met the AD requirements.
The proposed NPRM was prompted by flight testing and fatigue analysis
by Bell which indicated that the affected part-numbered T/R blades
sustain greater loads when installed on Bell Model 205B helicopters
compared to their use on other model helicopters. The proposed actions
were intended to prevent a T/R blade remaining in service beyond its
fatigue life, resulting in failure of the T/R blade and subsequent loss
control of the helicopter.
Actions Since Previous NPRM Was Issued
Since the FAA issued the NPRM, further research by Bell has
identified additional T/R blade P/Ns, which are also subject to the
unsafe condition and would require re-identification and reduced life
limits. Accordingly, Bell has revised its service information to
include the additional part numbered T/R blades. The FAA has determined
the NPRM must be revised by revising the applicability to include these
additional part numbered T/R blades and the service information must be
updated to include the revised service information with the newly
identified T/R blade P/Ns.
The FAA gave the public the opportunity to participate in
developing this proposed AD. The following presents the comment
received on the NPRM and the FAA's response to that comment.
Request To Add Additional T/R Blade Part Numbers
Bell requested the Applicability paragraph be updated to include
the newly identified T/R blade P/Ns and that the FAA update the
corrective actions to include those newly identified T/R blade P/Ns.
Bell stated that it is revising the service information to address the
additional T/R blade P/Ns and the re-identification and life limit
requirements of those additional T/R blades. Accordingly, the commenter
requested the FAA postpone the release of the AD until the part numbers
are disclosed to the FAA.
The FAA agrees the NPRM should be revised to include the additional
T/R blade P/Ns and the re-identification and life limit requirements of
those additional T/R blade P/Ns.
The FAA is proposing this SNPRM 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. Certain
changes described above expand the scope of the original NPRM. As a
result, the FAA has determined that it is necessary to reopen the
comment period to provide additional opportunity for the public to
comment on this SNPRM.
Related Service Information
The FAA reviewed Bell Helicopter Textron Alert Service Bulletin No.
205B-20-70, dated August 6, 2020, for Model 205B helicopters. This
service information specifies reducing the life limit of T/R blade P/N
212-010-750-109, 212-010-750-111, 212-010-750-113, 212-010-750-117,
212-010-750-133, 212-010-750-135, 212-010-750-117FM, and 212-010-750-
135FM to 2,500 hours time-in-service (TIS). This service information
also specifies re-identifying certain T/R blade P/Ns by assigning new
dash number by vibro-etching a new P/N on the T/R blade data plate and
annotating the historical record card.
The FAA also reviewed Bell Helicopter Textron Alert Service
Bulletin No. 205B-98-27, dated June 1, 1998, for Model 205B
helicopters. This service information specifies reducing the life limit
of T/R blade P/N 212-010-750-009 and 212-010-750-105 to 2,500 hours TIS
and assigning these T/R blades a new dash number by vibro-etching a new
P/N on the T/R blade data plate and annotating the historical record
Proposed AD Requirements
This proposed AD would require, before further flight, reducing the
life limit of each affected T/R blade from 5,000 hours TIS to 2,500
hours TIS; re-identifying certain part numbered T/R blades by vibro-
etching to change the last three digits of the existing P/N; creating
component history card or equivalent record; and revising the
Airworthiness Limitations section of the existing maintenance manual
for your helicopter to annotate the new P/N and revised life limit.
Finally, this SNPRM would prohibit installing any affected T/R blade
that has not met the proposed AD requirements.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD would affect 2 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 per work-hour.
Determining the total hours TIS of a T/R blade, re-identifying the
P/N, and updating the helicopter records would take about 1 work-hour
for each T/R blade for an estimated cost of $170 per helicopter and
$340 for the U.S fleet.
Replacing a T/R blade would take about 8 work-hours and parts would
cost about $29,110 for an estimated cost of $29,790 per T/R blade.
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.
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