DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-0916; Product Identifier 2015-SW-055-AD]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive
for Airbus Helicopters Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, AS332L1, AS332L2,
EC 155B, EC155B1, EC225LP, and SA330J helicopters. This proposed AD
would require inspecting the snap fasteners on the windows. This
proposed AD was prompted by incidents of difficulty unbuttoning the
extraction tape on the windows. The proposed actions are intended to
address an unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by December
ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow
online instructions for sending your comments electronically.
Mail: Send comments to the U.S. Department of
Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor,
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
Hand Delivery: Deliver to the "Mail" address between 9
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
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-2020-0916;
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 proposed AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) ADs, 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 service information identified in this proposed 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 https://
www.airbus.com/helicopters/services/technical-support.html. You 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.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Hatfield, Aviation Safety
Engineer, Safety Management Section, Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA,
10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5110;
The FAA invites you to send any written relevant data, views, or
arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed
under ADDRESSES. Include "Docket No. FAA-2020-0916; Product Identifier
2015-SW-055-AD" at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful
comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the
reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. The FAA
will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend
this proposal because of those comments.
Except for Confidential Business Information (CBI) as described in
the following paragraph, and other information as described in 14 CFR
11.35, the FAA will post all comments received, without change, to
https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you
provide. The agency will also post a report summarizing each
substantive verbal contact received about this proposal.
Confidential Business Information
CBI is commercial or financial information that is both customarily
and actually treated as private by its owner. Under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), CBI is exempt from public
disclosure. If your comments responsive to this NPRM contain commercial
or financial information that is customarily treated as private, that
you actually treat as private, and that is relevant or responsive to
this NPRM, it is important that you clearly designate the submitted
comments as CBI. Please mark each page of your submission containing
CBI as "PROPIN." The FAA will treat such marked submissions as
confidential under the FOIA, and they will not be placed in the public
docket of this NPRM. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to David
Hatfield, Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Section,
Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX
76177; telephone 817-222-5110; email firstname.lastname@example.org. Any
commentary that the FAA receives which is not specifically designated
as CBI will be placed in the public docket for this rulemaking.
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD No. 2015-0149, dated July 23, 2015
(EASA AD 2015-0149), to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus
Helicopters Model AS 322 and EC 225 LP helicopters; EASA AD No. 2015-
0168, dated August 13, 2015 (EASA AD 2015-0168), to correct an unsafe
condition for Airbus Helicopters Model EC 155 B and EC 155 B1
helicopters; and EASA AD No. 2015-0169, dated August 13, 2015 (EASA AD
2015-0169), to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters Model
SA330 J helicopters, equipped with an extraction tape fitted with
"press-studs" (snap fasteners) on the windows. EASA advises of
difficulty unbuttoning the extraction tape during the manufacturing of
a helicopter. Investigation concluded that the difficulty was caused by
a bad male/female coupling, possibly resulting from miscrimping. This
difficulty is known to have occurred on two additional helicopters. EASA
states this condition, if not detected and corrected, could prevent the
jettisoning of the helicopter window, possibly affecting the evacuation
of passengers during an emergency situation. For these reasons, EASA AD
2015-0149, EASA AD 2015-0168, and EASA AD 2015-0169 require inspecting
each press-stud located on the extraction tapes of the window jettisoning
system and depending on the findings, installing self-gripping tape and
replacing the press-studs.
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 proposing this AD
because after evaluating all known relevant information and determining
that an unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other
products of the same type designs.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin (ASB)
No. AS332-56.00.10, Revision 0, dated July 16, 2015, for Model AS332-
series helicopters; ASB No. EC155-56A006, Revision 0, dated August 10,
2015, for Model EC155-series helicopters; ASB No. EC225-56A008,
Revision 0, dated July 16, 2015, for Model EC225LP helicopters; and ASB
No. SA330-56.02, Revision 0, dated August 10, 2015, for Model SA330J
helicopters. This service information specifies procedures to inspect
the internal and external press-studs and to install self-gripping tape
for press-studs that do not unbutton or are difficult to unbutton. This
service information also specifies procedures to replace internal
press-studs that are difficult to unbutton and a repetitive inspection
for affected external press-studs until they are replaced.
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.
Proposed AD Requirements
This proposed AD would require, within 50 hours time-in-service
(TIS), inspecting each internal and external snap fastener to determine
whether they unbutton by hand. For external snap fasteners that do not
unbutton by hand, this proposed AD would require replacing the male
part of the snap fastener, and installing self-gripping tape if it
still does not unbutton by hand. Thereafter, this proposed AD would
require inspecting the external extraction tape and self-gripping tape
every 15 hours TIS and replacing any tape that is cracked, torn,
disintegrated, worn, or missing, and then replacing the snap fasteners
within 100 hours TIS. For internal snap fasteners that do not unbutton
by hand, this proposed AD would require installing the self-gripping
tape and then replacing the snap fasteners within 900 hours TIS.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD would affect 72 helicopters
of U.S. Registry. Labor costs are estimated at $85 per work-hour. Based
on these numbers, the FAA estimates that operators may incur the
following costs in order to comply with this proposed AD.
Inspecting the snap fasteners would take about 1 work-hour for a
cost of $85 per helicopter and $6,120 for the U.S. fleet. Installing
self-gripping tape would take about 0.3 work-hour and parts would cost
$200 for a cost of $226 per window. Inspecting the tape would take
about 0.3 work-hour for a cost of $26 per window per inspection cycle.
Replacing the extraction tape or self-gripping tape would take about 1
work-hour and parts would cost $200 for a total of $285 per window.
Replacing a snap fastener would take about 1 work-hour and parts would
cost $200 for a total of $285 per window.
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 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 government.
For the reasons discussed, I certify this proposed regulation:
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
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 adding the following new airworthiness