DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2019-0882; Product Identifier 2018-SW-113-AD; Amendment
39-19873; AD 2020-05-23]
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, and AS332L1
helicopters. This AD requires inspecting the attachment screws of each
main gearbox (MGB) suspension bar rear attachment fitting, and
depending on the outcome, applying a sealing compound, performing
further inspections, and replacing affected parts. This AD was prompted
by reports of an elongated attachment screw and loss of tightening
torque of the nut. 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-2019-0882.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.
gov in Docket No. FAA-2019-0882; 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 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 Docket
Operations, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30,
West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE,
Washington, DC 20590.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matt Fuller, Senior Aviation Safety
Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA,
10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5110;
On November 8, 2019, at 84 FR 60349, 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, and AS332L1 helicopters, delivered to
the first owner or customer before September 1, 2018, and with
attachment screws part number (P/N) 330A22013520 installed with MGB
right hand (RH) side rear attachment fitting P/N 330A22270207 and left
hand (LH) side rear attachment fitting P/N 330A22270206 of the MGB
suspension bars. The NPRM proposed to require inspecting each screw on
the RH and LH rear attachment by identifying the number of threads
``F'' that extend beyond the nut. If there are 2 or less threads on
each affected part, or if there are 3 or more threads on any affected
part with a thread height less than 5 mm (0.196 in), the NPRM proposed
to require applying a sealing compound on the nuts, and convex and
concave washers. If there are 3 or more threads on any affected part
with a thread height of 5 mm (0.196 in) or more, the NPRM proposed to
require removing the nut and inspecting the convex and concave washers
for bent parts and corrosion. If any washers are bent or corroded, the
NPRM proposed to require removing the washers from service. If the
length ``L'' measurement of any attachment screw is greater than 59.3
mm (2.334 in), the NPRM proposed to require replacing the attachment
fitting and the set of four screws. The proposed requirements were
intended to prevent structural failure of an MGB attachment fitting,
detachment of an MGB suspension bar, and subsequent loss of control of
The NPRM was prompted by EASA AD No. 2018-0282, dated December 19,
2018 (EASA AD 2018-0282), issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent
for the Member States of the European Union, to correct an unsafe
condition for Airbus Helicopters Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, and
AS332L1 helicopters. EASA advises that occurrences were reported of
elongated attachment screws and loss of tightening torque of the nut
installed on the affected part. EASA also advises that an investigation
is ongoing to determine the root cause of this event. EASA states this
condition could lead to structural failure of an MGB rear attachment
fitting and possibly result in detachment of an MGB suspension bar.
Accordingly, EASA AD 2018-0282 requires a one-time inspection of each
attachment screw for the number of threads that protrude beyond its
bolt and depending on the outcome, applying a sealing compound on the
nuts, and convex and concave washers; measuring the height of the
protruding threads; inspecting the tightening torque of the nuts;
inspecting the upper and lower convex and concave washers; measuring
and inspecting removed attachment screws; and replacing affected parts.
EASA AD 2018-0282 also requires reporting information to Airbus
Helicopters. EASA states EASA AD 2018-0282 is considered to be an
interim action and further AD action may follow.
The FAA gave the public the opportunity to participate in
developing this AD. Benjamin Pico and Patrick Imperatrice commented
that they support the NPRM.
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.
The FAA considers this AD interim action. The design approval
holder is currently developing a modification that will address the
unsafe condition identified in this AD. Once this modification is
developed, approved, and available, the FAA might consider additional
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD requires the operator to perform a torque check and
report the value to Airbus, whereas this AD does not.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin No.
AS332-53.02.04, Revision 0, dated November 21, 2018, which specifies
checking the number of threads that protrude beyond the bolt of the
attachment screws on the RH and LH rear attachment fittings of the MGB.
This service information also specifies a one-time inspection of the
affected parts and depending on findings, accomplishment of applicable
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.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects14 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
Inspecting the number of threads and applying a sealing compound
takes about 3 work-hours for an estimated cost of $255 per helicopter
and $3,570 for the U.S. fleet.
Replacing an attachment fitting and the set of four screws takes
about 16 work-hours and parts cost $6,330 for an estimated replacement
cost of $7,690.
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