DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2019-1015; Product Identifier 2018-SW-104-AD; Amendment
39-19882; AD 2020-06-13]
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 determining the accumulated hours time-
in-service (TIS) of certain part-numbered main gearbox (MGB) suspension
bar attachment fittings (fittings) and bolts, and establishes new life
limits. This AD was prompted by the outcome of tests and analyses
performed by Airbus Helicopters. The actions of this AD are intended to
address an unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD is effective 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 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 in Docket No. FAA-2019-1015; 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 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 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 December 9, 2019, at 84 FR 67246, 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, with an MGB
suspension bar right-hand side (RH) rear fitting part number (P/N)
330A22-2702-07 and bolt P/N 330A22-0135-20, MGB suspension bar left-
hand side (LH) rear fitting P/N 330A22-2702-06 and bolt P/N 330A22-
0135-20, or MGB suspension bar front bolt P/N 330A22-0134-20 installed.
The NPRM proposed to require within 50 hours TIS, reviewing the
helicopter records to determine the total hours TIS of the MGB
suspension bar RH and LH rear fittings. The NPRM also proposed to
require removing from service the RH rear fitting and its bolts and the
LH rear fitting and its bolts based on the accumulated total hours TIS
of the fittings and other conditions. Thereafter, the NPRM proposed to
require removing from service the RH rear fitting and its bolts at
intervals not to exceed 1,470 hours TIS, removing from service the LH
rear fitting at intervals not to exceed 13,600 hours TIS, and removing
from service the LH rear bolts during each Major Inspection ``G.''
Finally, the NPRM proposed to require removing from service the front
bolts during each Major Inspection ``G.''
The proposed requirements were intended to prevent structural
failure of the MGB suspension bar fittings and bolts, possibly
resulting in detachment of the MGB suspension bars.
The NPRM was prompted by EASA AD No. 2018-0260, dated December 3,
2018, 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 C, AS 332 C1, AS 332 L, and AS 332 L1 helicopters. From
review of reported Model EC 225 LP data, 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
screws (bolts). Due to design similarities, Model AS 332 C, AS 332 C1,
AS 332 L, and AS 332 L1 helicopters could also be affected by the same
Investigations determined that a life limit reduction of the MGB
suspension bar fittings and screws was necessary for these model
EASA states that this condition, if not corrected, could lead to
structural failure of the MGB suspension bar fittings and screws,
possibly resulting in detachment of the MGB suspension bars.
Accordingly, the EASA AD requires determining the accumulated service
life of the affected parts and introduced new life limits.
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.
The FAA considers this AD to be an 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 rulemaking.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD allows an option for the first MGB RH rear fitting
replacement to inspect torque and specifies different replacement
compliance times based on the torque inspection results, whereas this
AD does not.
Related Service Information
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin No.
AS332-01.00.90, Revision 0, dated November 21, 2018. This service
information specifies determining the accumulated hours TIS of certain
part-numbered rear MGB suspension bar fittings and screws. This service
information further specifies criteria to determine the initial
replacement compliance time of those parts and a new life limit for
those parts thereafter. This service information also establishes a
life limit for the front MGB attachment screws.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 14 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 total hours TIS of the rear MGB fittings takes
about 0.5 work-hour for an estimated cost of $43 per helicopter and
$602 for the U.S. fleet.
Replacing a rear MGB fitting and its set of four bolts takes about
8 work-hours and parts cost about $12,937, for an estimated cost of
$13,617 per replacement cycle.
Replacing a set of four MGB attachment bolts takes about 4 work-
hours and parts cost about $224, for an estimated cost of $564 per
Replacing a LH rear MGB fitting takes about 8 work-hours and parts
cost about $12,713, for an estimated cost of $13,393 per replacement
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