DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2018-0334; Product Identifier 2017-SW-133-AD; Amendment
39-21262; AD 2020-20-06]
Airworthiness Directives; Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD)
Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited (BHTC) Model 429 helicopters.
This AD requires repetitive inspections of certain cyclic and
collective assembly bearings. This AD was prompted by reports that
precipitation can lead to reduced effectiveness of the grease in the
bearings. The actions of this AD are intended to address an unsafe
condition on these products.
DATES: This AD is effective October 30, 2020.
ADDRESSES: For service information identified in this final rule,
contact Bell Helicopter 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 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 by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-
0334; 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 Transport Canada 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
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 issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14
CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to BHTC Model 429
helicopters with a bellcrank assembly part number (P/N) 429-001-523-
101, 429-001-523-103, 429-001-532-101 or 429-001-532-103 installed. The
NPRM published in the Federal Register on March 20, 2020 (85 FR 16019).
The NPRM proposed to require, at specified intervals, disconnecting the
forward ends of the collective control tube, longitudinal stability and
control augmentation system (SCAS) actuator, and lateral SCAS actuator,
and stowing the collective control tube and each SCAS actuator to
prevent binding; and then inspecting for any roughness in the flight
control system and any binding in any arm end bearing and on the
longitudinal bellcrank assembly. If there is any roughness in the
flight control system, the NPRM proposed to require replacing the six
pivot bearings in the collective/lateral bellcrank assembly and the
longitudinal bellcrank assembly. If there is any binding in any arm end
bearing or on the longitudinal bellcrank assembly, the NPRM proposed to
require replacing each arm end bearing before further flight.
Transport Canada, which is the aviation authority for Canada, has
issued Canadian AD CF-2016-11R2, dated October 18, 2017, to correct an
unsafe condition for BHTC Model 429 helicopters equipped with a
bellcrank assembly P/N 429-001-523-101, 429-001-523-103, 429-001-532-
101 or 429-001-532-103. Transport Canada advises that in-service
reports show that bearings in the roof-mounted flight control
bellcranks are adversely affected by precipitation. Pooling can occur
at the forward portion of the roof, providing a source of contamination
for bearings in the roof-mounted flight controls. Precipitation may
reduce the effectiveness of the grease in the bearings, allowing
corrosion to occur. This can result in intermittent restrictions, such
as binding and roughness in the flight controls. Transport Canada also
advises that an undetected corroded bearing could lead to restrictions
in the collective, directional, or pitch control systems, resulting in
difficulty controlling the helicopter.
Transport Canada consequently requires within 12 months after the
helicopter was manufactured and thereafter at intervals not to exceed
months, inspecting the flight controls and replacing any discrepant
bearings. If the helicopter's age exceeds 12 months, Transport Canada
requires the 12-month inspection within 30 days. Transport Canada also
requires, within 30 days, performing a functional check and
replacement, if applicable, of the bearings if the most recent
functional check of the helicopter was performed with the alternate
procedure of using a hydraulic test stand or if the inspection method
After the NPRM was published, the FAA received comments from two
commenters. However, the comments addressed neither the proposed
actions nor the determination of the cost to the public. Therefore, the
FAA has made no changes based on those comments.
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
issuing this AD after evaluating all of the information provided by
Transport Canada and determining the unsafe condition exists and is
likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design
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. If final action
is later identified, the FAA might consider further rulemaking then.
Differences Between This AD and the Transport Canada AD
Transport Canada provides requirements if the most recent
functional procedure was performed using a hydraulic test stand as an
alternate procedure. This AD provides no such alternate procedure.
Related Service Information
The FAA reviewed Bell Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin 429-15-21,
Revision B, dated May 11, 2017 (ASB), which specifies moving the cyclic
stick fore, aft, and laterally, and the collective stick up and down
from stop to stop to detect deteriorated pivot bearings. The ASB also
specifies inspecting to determine whether the bearings in the
collective, lateral, and longitudinal arm assemblies rotate freely. If
discrepant arm bearings are found, the ASB specifies contacting BHTC
Product Support Engineering to report the findings and replacing the
discrepant parts with serviceable parts.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 64 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 AD.
Inspecting the cyclic and the collective for roughness takes about
3 work-hours for an estimated cost of $255 per helicopter, and $16,320
for the U.S. fleet, per inspection cycle.
Replacing six pivot bearings takes about 3 work-hours and parts
cost about $624 for an estimated cost of $879 per helicopter.
Replacing three arm end bearings takes about 3 work-hours and parts
cost about $135 for an estimated cost of $390 per helicopter.
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
(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