DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2019-0970; Product Identifier 2018-SW-089-AD; Amendment
39-19870; AD 2020-05-20]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD)
Airbus Helicopters Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, AS332L1, and AS332L2
helicopters. This AD requires removing the drain plugs from the fuel
tank compartments located under the bottom structure. This AD was
prompted by the discovery that a modification to the fuel tank could
lead to fuel accumulating in an area containing electrical equipment
and subsequent ignition of fuel vapors. The actions of this AD are
intended to address an unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD is effective April 24, 2020.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain document listed in this AD as of April 24, 2020.
ADDRESSES: 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
may view this 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 https://www.
regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2019-0970.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov
in Docket No. FAA-2019-0970; or in person at Docket Operations between
and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket
contains this AD, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (previously
European Aviation Safety Agency) (EASA) AD, any service information
that is incorporated by reference, any comments received, and other
information. The street address for Docket Operations is U.S.
Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building
Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James Blyn, Aviation Safety Engineer,
Regulations and Policy Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101
Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5110; email
On December 3, 2019, at 84 FR 66080, the Federal Register published
the FAA's notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which proposed to amend
14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to Airbus Helicopters
Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, AS332L1, and AS332L2 helicopters, except
those with modification 0726383 installed. The NPRM proposed to require
removing drain plugs from the fuel tank compartments. The proposed
requirements were intended to prevent fuel accumulating in an area
containing electrical equipment and ignition of fuel vapors, which
could result in a fire and subsequent damage to the helicopter or
injury to the occupants.
The NPRM was prompted by EASA AD No. 2018-0209, dated September 21,
2018 (EASA AD 2018-0209), issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent
for the Member States of the European Union, to correct an unsafe
condition for Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter, Eurocopter
France, Aerospatiale) Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, AS332L1, and
AS332L2 helicopters, except those with modification 0726383. EASA
advises that during production of AS332 helicopters, closure of the
fuel tank drains with plugs was implemented. EASA states that this
closure disregards compliance with an airworthiness certification
requirement and in the event of fuel leakage in flight, a closed fuel
drain creates the risk of fuel accumulation and/or migration to an
adjacent area. EASA advises this area may contain electrical equipment
that could be susceptible to creating a source of ignition.
Accordingly, EASA AD 2018-0209 requires modification of the draining
system of the fuel tank compartments by removing the drain plugs from
the fuel tank compartments located under the bottom structure.
The FAA gave the public the opportunity to participate in
developing this AD, but the FAA did not receive any comments on the
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 issuing this AD after
evaluating all information provided by EASA and determining the unsafe
condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters
of these same type designs and that air safety and the public interest
require adopting the AD requirements as proposed.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin (ASB)
No. AS332-53.01.62, Revision 1, dated May 28, 2019 (ASB AS332-53.01.62,
Revision 1), which specifies procedures for removing the drain plugs
from the fuel tank compartments located under the bottom structure of
the helicopter. This service information also specifies that the number
of drain plugs varies depending on the version of the helicopter.
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 also reviewed Airbus Helicopters ASB No. AS332-53.01.62,
Revision 0, dated June 7, 2018 (AS332-53.01.62, Revision 0). AS332-
53.01.62, Revision 0, contains the same procedures as AS332-53.01.62,
Revision 1. However, AS332-53.01.62, Revision 1, also addresses
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 11 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
Removing the 6 drain plugs installed on Model AS332C and AS332C1
helicopters takes about 2 work-hours for an estimated cost of $170 per
helicopter and $170 for the U.S. fleet size of 1 helicopter.
Removing the 7 drain plugs installed on Model AS332L, AS332L1, and
AS332L2 helicopters takes about 2 work-hours for an estimated cost of
$170 per helicopter and $1,700 for the U.S. fleet size of 10
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 helicopters 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
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
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