DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2018-0019; Product Identifier 2017-SW-074-AD; Amendment
39-19881; AD 2020-06-12]
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 AS332L2 and EC225LP helicopters. This AD
requires determining the accumulated hours time-in-service (TIS) of
certain part-numbered main gearbox (MGB) suspension bar attachment
bolts and fittings, applying a life limit add-on factor, and inspecting
the torque of certain MGB suspension bar attachment nuts. This AD was
prompted by a report of torque loss on an MGB suspension bar bolt. The
actions of this AD are intended to address an unsafe condition on these
DATES: This AD is effective May 11, 2020.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of certain documents listed in this AD as of May 11, 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-2018-0019.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.
gov in Docket No. FAA-2018-0019; or in person at Docket Operations between
9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The
contains this AD, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (previously
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: 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 December 9, 2019, at 84 FR 67248, 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 AS332L2 and EC225LP helicopters, with an MGB suspension bar front
attachment bolt (bolt) part number (P/N) 332A22-1613-21 or 332A22-1613-
20, MGB suspension bar rear bolt P/N 332A22-1614-20, MGB suspension bar
front attachment fitting (fitting) P/N 332A22-1623-01, MGB suspension
bar rear left hand fitting P/N 332A22-1624-02 or 332A22-1624-04, or MGB
suspension bar rear right hand fitting P/N 332A22-1624-03 or 332A22-
For Airbus Helicopters Model AS332L2 and EC225LP helicopters, the
NPRM proposed to require, within 30 hours time-in-service (TIS), re-
calculating the life limit accumulated by each front and rear bolt by
applying an add-on factor listed in the applicable service information.
For each bolt that meets or exceeds its life limit, also known as
service life limit (SLL), the NPRM proposed to require removing each
bolt from service before further flight. For each bolt that has not
exceeded its life limit, the NPRM proposed to require continuing to
calculate and record the life limit of each bolt on its component
history card or equivalent record and removing the bolt from service
before reaching its life limit.
For Model AS332L2 helicopters, the NPRM proposed to require, within
30 hours TIS, re-calculating the life limit accumulated by the front,
rear left hand, and rear right hand fittings by applying an add-on
factor listed in the applicable service information. For each fitting
that meets or exceeds its life limit, the NPRM proposed to require
removing the fitting from service before further flight. For each
fitting that has not exceeded its life limit, the NPRM proposed to
require continuing to calculate and record the life limit of each
fitting on its component history card or equivalent record and removing
the fitting from service before reaching its life limit.
For Model AS332L2 helicopters, the NPRM proposed to require, within
150 hours TIS (without applying an add on-factor), inspecting the
torque of each MGB suspension bar fitting front and rear nut. If the
torque on any nut is higher than the maximum allowable limit, the NPRM
proposed to require removing the nut and its bolt from service before
further flight. If the torque on any nut is lower than the minimum
allowable limit, the NPRM proposed to require tightening the nut before
further flight and removing the nut and its bolt from service within
150 hours TIS.
The proposed requirements were intended prevent the MGB suspension
bar bolts and fittings remaining in service beyond their fatigue life,
which could result in structural failure of the MGB suspension bar and
loss of helicopter control.
The NPRM was prompted by EASA AD No. 2017-0189, dated September 22,
2017, 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 AS 332 L2 and EC 225 LP helicopters. EASA advises that the
installation of the MGB upper deck fittings of the three MGB suspension
bars could lead to tightening torque loss on the fittings' attachment
pins (bolts). Due to design similarities, Model AS 332 L2 helicopters
could also be affected by the same installation condition. An
investigation determined that the life limits in the Airworthiness
Limitations Sections for the pins and fittings are valid if an ``add-on
penalty factor'' is applied.
EASA states that this condition, if not corrected, could lead to
structural failure of the MGB suspension bar attachment pins or
fittings. Accordingly, the EASA AD requires applying the add-on penalty
factor to the flight hours to re-calculate the life limits and
replacing an affected part before exceeding its life limit. EASA
further advises that Airbus Helicopters' initial service information
contained an error that may have resulted in the installation of pins
or fittings using an incorrect torque value. As a result, the EASA AD
also requires replacing pins if an incorrect torque value was applied
and reporting the information to Airbus Helicopters.
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.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD allows an optional 150 hours TIS extension to the life
limit of an affected fitting for Model AS 332 L2 helicopters by
performing dye-penetrant inspections. This AD does not allow this
option. For Model AS 332 L2 helicopters, the EASA AD requires replacing
pins (bolts) that are replacement pins installed before the AD's
effective date with an incorrect torque value applied. This AD requires
inspecting the torque for each nut for Model AS 332 L2 helicopters
instead and depending on the outcome, removing the nut and its bolt
from service. The EASA AD requires reporting certain information to
Airbus Helicopters, while this AD does not.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Emergency Alert Service
Bulletin (EASB) No. 01.00.86 for Model AS332 helicopters and Airbus
Helicopters EASB No. 04A013 for Model EC225LP helicopters, both
Revision 1 and dated August 25, 2017. This service information
specifies applying an add-on factor to the flying hours logged by the
pins and fittings and replacing them if the SLL is exceeded. If an
incorrect tightening torque value was applied to the pins, the service
information specifies replacing the pins and contacting Airbus
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 affects 23 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
Determining the adjusted life limit for the bolts and fittings
takes about 0.5 work-hour for an estimated cost of $43 per helicopter
and $989 for the U.S. fleet.
Replacing a bolt takes about 4 work-hours and parts cost about $89
for an estimated cost of $429 per bolt.
There are no costs of compliance for replacing a fitting and
inspecting, and if necessary tightening, the torque for Model AS332L2
helicopters by this AD because there are no Model AS332L2 helicopters
on the U.S. Registry.
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