DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-1170; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-00720-R]
Airworthiness Directives; Bell Textron Canada Limited Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive
for Bell Textron Canada Limited (Bell) Model 429 helicopters. This
proposed AD would require inspecting certain serial-numbered Emergency
Flotation System (EFS) inflation hoses and depending on the results of
those inspections, marking certain parts or removing certain parts from
service. This proposed AD was prompted by a report that a float
compartment on an EFS did not inflate. The actions of this proposed AD
are intended to address an unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by May
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-2020-1170;
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 Transport Canada 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
For service information identified in this proposed rule, contact
Bell Textron Canada Limited, 12,800 Rue de l'Avenir, Mirabel, Quebec
J7J1R4; telephone 450-437-2862 or 800-363-8023; fax 450-433-0272; or at
https://www.bellcustomer.com. You 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.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel E. Moore, Aviation Safety
Engineer, Denver ACO Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA,
26805 East 68th Ave., Denver, CO 80249; telephone 303-342-1086; email
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-2020-1170; Project Identifier
MCAI-2020-00720-R" 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
Daniel E. Moore, Aviation Safety Engineer, Denver ACO Branch,
Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 26805 East 68th Ave., Denver,
CO 80249; telephone 303-342-1086; ; 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.
Transport Canada, which is the aviation authority for Canada, has
issued Canadian AD No. CF-2020-21R1, issued August 19, 2020 to correct
an unsafe condition for Bell Model 429 helicopters, all serial numbers.
The Transport Canada AD advises that during maintenance on an EFS, the
third compartment of the left forward float did not inflate. Transport
Canada advises that an investigation determined the supply hose for the
gas flow from the pressurized cylinder to the float compartment was
blocked due to a manufacturing defect. Bell advised that similar supply
hoses are installed on various EFS part numbers, which could be
installed on different helicopter type designs. Transport Canada
advises that this condition, if not detected and corrected, could
result in partial inflation of the EFS during an emergency landing on
water, preventing a timely egress from the helicopter, and injury to
These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of
Canada and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to
the FAA's bilateral agreement with Canada, Transport Canada, its
technical representative, has notified the FAA of the unsafe condition
described in the Transport Canada AD. The FAA is proposing this AD
after evaluating all known relevant information and determining that an
unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of
the same type design.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Safran Aerosystems Services Service Bulletin No.
025-69-21, Revision 00, dated, March 23, 2020 (SB 025-69-21). SB 025-
69-21 is attached as an appendix to Bell Alert Service Bulletin No.
429-20-52, dated March 30, 2020 (ASB 429-20-52). SB 025-69-21 is
proposed for incorporation by reference in this proposed AD. ASB 429-
20-52 is not proposed for incorporation by reference in this proposed
AD. SB 025-69-21 specifies, for certain EFSs manufactured
before July 2019, and any float supply hose manufactured before January
2014, performing a special inspection to verify that there is no
blockage through the float supply hoses of the EFS inflation system.
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 100 hours time-in-service
(TIS), removing each EFS supply hose and inspecting each end (also
referred to as fitting or banjo) of the EFS supply hose using a certain
plastic cable tie, and depending on the results of those inspections,
removing from service certain parts and replacing those parts with
airworthy parts. This proposed AD would also require marking a green
dot on the base of certain supply hoses and writing "SB 025-69-21"
above the external identification marking of the EFS with indelible
ink. Finally, the proposed AD would prohibit installing any EFS supply
hose manufactured before January 2014 unless it has been inspected in
accordance with the proposed AD.
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the Transport Canada AD
The Transport Canada AD requires compliance within 600 hours air
time or within the next 24-month inspection of the EFS, whichever
occurs first, whereas this proposed AD would require compliance within
100 hours TIS. The Transport Canada AD limits the applicability to
certain EFS supply hoses listed in SB 025-69-21, whereas this proposed
AD would apply to certain EFS supply hoses manufactured before January
2014 but excludes EFS supply hoses marked with "SB 025-69-21."
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD would affect 110
helicopters of U.S. Registry. The FAA estimates that operators may
incur the following costs in order to comply with this proposed AD.
Labor costs are estimated at $85 per work-hour.
Removing and inspecting each EFS supply hose would take about 0.75
work-hour, for an estimated cost of $64 per hose.
Installing or replacing each EFS supply hose would take about 0.10
work-hour with a minimal parts cost, for an estimated cost of $9 per
Marking each EFS supply hose with a green dot and the applicable
service bulletin number would take a minimal amount of time at a
According to Safran's service information, some of the costs of
this proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the
cost impact on affected individuals. The FAA does not control warranty
coverage by Safran. Accordingly, all costs are included in this cost
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