DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-0572; Product Identifier 2017-SW-056-AD]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive
2007-26-51, which applies to certain Airbus Helicopters Deutschland
GmbH Model EC135 helicopters. AD 2007-26-51 requires an inspection of
the tail rotor control rod (control rod) and ball pivot and, depending
on findings, replacing these parts. Since the FAA issued AD 2007-26-51,
the manufacturer developed a new control rod, which the FAA has
determined must be installed in order to address the identified unsafe
condition. This proposed AD would require an inspection of certain ball
pivots, application of corrosion preventative compound on the ball
pivot, and corrective action, as applicable. This proposed AD would
also require replacement of the control rod with the newly developed
control rod. The FAA is proposing this AD to address the unsafe
condition on these products.
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by August
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.
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-2020-0572;
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 Aviation Safety Agency (now European Union
Aviation Safety Agency) (EASA) AD, 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: David Hatfield, Aviation Safety
Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA,
10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5116;
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-2020-0572;
Product Identifier 2017-SW-056-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 FAA issued AD 2007-26-51, Amendment 39-15357 (73 FR 6008,
February 1, 2008) ("AD 2007-26-51"), for certain Airbus Helicopters
Deutschland GmbH (type certificate previously held by Eurocopter
Deutschland GmbH) Model EC 135 helicopters. AD 2007-26-51 requires an
inspection of the control rod and ball pivot for discrepancies and
depending on findings, replacing these parts. AD 2007-26-51 resulted
from a report of an accident involving the failure of a control rod.
The FAA issued AD 2007-26-51 to address failure of a control rod and
subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
Actions Since AD 2007-26-51 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2007-26-51, Airbus Helicopters Deutschland
GmbH developed a new control rod. The FAA determined this new control
rod must be installed in order to address the identified unsafe
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2010-0227R1, dated April 7, 2017
(referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness
Information, or "the MCAI"), to correct an unsafe condition for all
Model EC135 P1, EC135 P2, EC135 P2+, EC135 T1, EC 135 T2, and EC135 T2+
helicopters; and Model EC635 T1, EC635 P2+, and EC635 T2+ helicopters.
EASA advises that in 2007, an accident occurred with an EC135
helicopter in Japan. Preliminary investigation results indicated that
loss of control was due to failure of the control rod. EASA issued EASA
Emergency AD 2007-0301-E to inspect the affected control rod, part
number (P/N) L672M2005207, and the ball pivot (which correspond to the
actions required by AD 2007-26-51). EASA AD 2007-0301-E was
subsequently superseded by EASA AD 2007-0313, to require repetitive
inspections and, depending on findings, the replacement of the control
rod and ball pivot, only for helicopters not equipped with an automatic
flight control system (AFCS). After review of the inspection results,
issued EASA AD 2008-0064 (later revised) to apply the requirements to
helicopters equipped with an AFCS.
EASA also advises that after EASA AD 2008-0064R1 was issued,
Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH developed a new control rod P/N
L672M2006101, installation of which constituted terminating action for
the repetitive inspections. Consequently, EASA issued EASA AD 2010-
0227, retaining the requirements of EASA AD 2008-0064R1, and requiring
the replacement of control rod P/N L672M2005207 with the new control
rod P/N L672M2006101.
In addition, EASA advises that following a review of data and
feedback received from in-service helicopters, it has been determined
that the repetitive inspections of the ball pivot are no longer
required to address the unsafe condition. The repetitive inspections of
the ball pivot are now included in Chapter 05 of the aircraft
maintenance manual. Therefore, EASA issued EASA AD 2010-0227R1 to
remove the requirement for repetitive inspections of the control rod
and of the ball pivot.
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 ASB EC135-67A-
017, Revision 4, dated April 3, 2017, including the Appendix
(watermarked as Appendix to SB EC135-67A-017 Revision 4). This service
information describes procedures for, among other actions, an
inspection of ball pivots, P/Ns 92-201-00 and 92-207-00, for freedom of
movement, and for damage (e.g., cracks, missing hardware, loose
bearing, or play), application of corrosion preventative compound, and
corrective actions. Corrective actions include replacing the ball pivot
and the control rod with serviceable parts, and applying corrosion
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
Eurocopter has issued Service Bulletin EC135-67-018, Revision 01,
dated May 15, 2008, which describes procedures for replacing the
control rod having P/N L672M2005207 with a control rod having P/N
Eurocopter has also issued Alert Service Bulletin EC135-67A-017,
Revision 03, dated July 26, 2010, which describes procedures for ball
pivot inspections and replacements.
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 about the
unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information
referenced above. The FAA is proposing this AD after evaluating all the
relevant information and determining the unsafe condition described
previously is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same
Proposed Requirements of This NPRM
This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified
in the service information described previously, except as discussed
under "Differences Between this Proposed AD and the MCAI or Service
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the MCAI or Service
The MCAI includes a compliance time of 50 flight hours for the
inspection of a certain ball pivot; 100 flight hours or 43 days for the
inspection of a certain other ball pivot; and 400 flight hours or 12
months for the replacement of the control rod. This proposed AD would
require all actions to be accomplished within a compliance time of 50
The MCAI applies to Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Model EC635
T1, EC635 P2+, and EC635 T2+ helicopters. Model EC635 T1, EC635 P2+,
and EC635 T2+ helicopters are not certified by the FAA and are not
included on the U.S. type certificate data sheet except where the U.S.
type certificate data sheet explains that the Model EC635T2+ helicopter
having serial number 0858 was converted from Model EC635T2+ to Model
EC135T2+; this proposed AD therefore does not include those Model EC
635 helicopters in the applicability.
Additionally, although the MCAI and service information specify to
contact the manufacturer, this proposed AD does not include that
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 311 helicopters of
U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with
this proposed AD:
Estimated Costs for Required Actions
|4 work-hours x $85 per hour =
Estimated Costs of On-Condition
|Up to 6 work-hours x $85 per
hour = Up to $510
Up to $2,150
Up to $2,660
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 has 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
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 removing Airworthiness Directive (AD)
2007-26-51, Amendment 39-15357 (73 FR 6008, February 1, 2008), and
adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD):