DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-1173; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-00299-R]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH
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 Deutschland GmbH Model EC135P1, EC135P2,
EC135P2+, EC135P3, EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, and EC135T3 helicopters.
This proposed AD was prompted by a reassessment of the flight control
system. This proposed AD would require modification of the cyclic
stick, as specified in a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD,
which is proposed for incorporation by reference (IBR). 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 March
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 material proposed for IBR in this proposed AD, contact the
EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221
8999 000; email ADs@easa.europa.eu; internet www.easa.europa.eu. You
may find this material on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu.
You may view this material at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel,
Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.
For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call
222-5110. It is also available in the AD docket on the internet at https:
//www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-
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-2020-1173;
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 NPRM, 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: Kristin Bradley, Aviation Safety
Engineer, General Aviation & Rotorcraft Section, International
Validation Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177;
telephone 817-222-5110; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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-2020-1173; Product Identifier
MCAI-2020-00299-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
Kristi Bradley, Aviation Safety Engineer, General Aviation & Rotorcraft
Section, International Validation Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy.,
Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5110; email
email@example.com. Any commentary that the FAA receives that is
not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket
for this rulemaking.
The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD No. 2018-0063, dated March 22, 2018
(EASA AD 2018-0063), to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus
Helicopters Deutschland GmbH (AHD), formerly Eurocopter Deutschland
GmbH (ECD), Eurocopter Espa[ntilde]a S.A., Model EC135 P1, EC135 P2,
EC135 P2+, EC135 P3, EC135 T1, EC135 T2, EC135 T2+, EC135 T3, EC635
P2+, EC635 P3, EC635 T1, EC635 T2+ and EC635 T3 helicopters, all
variants, all serial numbers (S/Ns) up to 1263 inclusive and S/N 1265,
if equipped with autopilot, and S/N 2001 up to 2024 inclusive, except
S/N 2006, 2008, 2013, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2022.
This proposed AD was prompted by a reassessment of the flight
control system, which revealed that uncommanded disengagement of the
main rotor trim actuators during flight with the autopilot engaged and
hands-off controls could result in high roll and pitch rates, which
would require pilot intervention within a reaction time below that
required by current airworthiness standards. The FAA is proposing to
require installing a cyclic stick weight compensation modification to
correct this unsafe condition, which if not corrected, may lead to
subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. See the EASA AD for
additional background information.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2018-0063 describes procedures for modifying the helicopter
by retrofitting the cyclic stick weight compensation.
This material 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.
FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD
These products have been approved by the aviation authority of
another country, and are approved for operation in the United States.
Pursuant to the bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority,
the FAA has been notified of the unsafe condition described in the EASA
AD 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 in other products of the same
Proposed AD Requirements
This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified
in EASA AD 2018-0063, described previously, as incorporated by
reference, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the
regulatory text of this proposed AD and except as discussed under
"Differences Between this Proposed AD and the EASA AD."
Explanation of Required Compliance Information
In the FAA's ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency of the AD
process, the FAA initially worked with Airbus and EASA to develop a
process to use certain EASA ADs as the primary source of information
for compliance with requirements for corresponding
FAA ADs. The FAA has since coordinated with other manufacturers and
civil aviation authorities (CAAs) to use this process. As a result,
EASA AD 2018-0063 will be incorporated by reference in the FAA final
rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with EASA
AD 2018-0063 in its entirety, through that incorporation, except for
any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of this
proposed AD. Using common terms that are the same as the heading of a
particular section in the EASA AD does not mean that operators need
comply only with that section. For example, where the AD requirement
refers to "all required actions and compliance times," compliance
with this AD requirement is not limited to the section titled
"Required Action(s) and Compliance Time(s)" in the EASA AD. Service
information specified in EASA AD 2018-0063 that is required for
compliance with EASA AD 2018-0063 will be available on the internet at
https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No.
FAA-2020-1173 after the FAA final rule is published.
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD applies to certain serial-numbered EC635-series
helicopters with an autopilot installed, whereas this proposed AD does
not apply to the Model EC635-series helicopters because these models
are not FAA type-certificated. The EASA AD requires a calendar
compliance time, whereas this proposed AD would require using hours
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 331 helicopters of
U.S. registry. Labor rates 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.
Modifying the cyclic stick weight compensator would take about 8
work-hours and parts would cost about $1,300 for an estimated cost of
about $1,980 per modification and $655,380 for the U.S. fleet.
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 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 adding the following new airworthiness