DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-0856; Product Identifier 2019-SW-071-AD; Amendment
39-21270; AD 2020-20-14]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of
ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD)
certain Airbus Helicopters Model SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2, AS 365
N3, EC 155B, EC155B1, AS350B3, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N,
AS355NP, EC130B4, and EC130T2 helicopters. This AD requires inspecting
the main rotor (M/R) servo actuators, and depending on the inspection
results, replacing the affected part, applying a slippage mark, and
reporting information. This AD was prompted by an incident of a sudden,
strong nose-up attitude followed by intensive vibrations and increased
loads on the flight controls during a cruise flight. The actions of
this AD are intended to address an unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD becomes effective October 23, 2020.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of certain documents listed in this AD as of October 23,
The FAA must receive comments on this AD by November 23, 2020.
ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow
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-2020-0856;
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 (EASA) AD, any
service information that is incorporated by reference, 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 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 https://www.airbus.com/helicopters/services/technical-support.html.
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. It is also available on the internet at https://www.
regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-0856.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matthew L. Thompson, Aerospace
Engineer, DSCO Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 10101
Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5251; email
This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight
safety, and the FAA did not provide you with notice and an opportunity
to provide your comments prior to it becoming effective. However, the
FAA invites you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written
comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments reference a
specific portion of the AD, explain the reason for any recommended
change, and include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not
contain duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of
written comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters
should submit them only one time.
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 file in the docket all comments received, as well
as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA
personnel concerning this rulemaking during the comment period. The FAA
will consider all the comments received and may conduct additional
rulemaking based on those comments.
Confidential Business Information
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 final rule 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 final rule, 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
marked submissions as confidential under the FOIA, and they will not be
in the public docket of this final rule. Submissions containing CBI
should be sent to Matthew L. Thompson, Aerospace Engineer, DSCO Branch,
Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort
Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5251; email
email@example.com. Any comments that the FAA receives which
are 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. 2019-0184, dated July 29, 2019,
to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters (AH), formerly
Eurocopter, Eurocopter France, Aerospatiale, Sud Aviation, Model SA 365
N, SA 365 N1, AS 365 N2, AS 365 N3, EC155 B and EC155 B1 helicopters,
AS 350 B3 helicopters if equipped with dual hydraulic system (OP 3346
or OP 3082), EC 130 B4 and EC 130 T2 helicopters, and AS355 F, AS355
F1, AS355 F2, AS355 N and AS355 NP helicopters. EASA advises that a
Model AS 365 N3 helicopter experienced a sudden, strong nose-up
attitude followed by intense vibrations and increased loads on the
flight controls during a cruise flight. Following an emergency landing,
the post-flight visual inspection of the front left-hand M/R servo
actuator showed that the threaded-shouldered bushing holding the lower
end-fitting was uncoupled from the actuator body. EASA further advises
that other helicopter models are affected due design similarity of the
installed M/R servo actuators. EASA also advises that this condition,
if not detected and corrected, could lead to loss of control of the
Accordingly, the EASA AD requires a one-time inspection of each M/R
servo actuator for correct installation and, depending on the findings,
replacing the affected part or applying a slippage mark. The EASA AD
also requires inspecting the slippage mark for misalignment and,
depending on the findings replacing the affected part. EASA considers
its AD an interim action and states that further AD action may follow.
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 of the information provided by EASA and determining the
unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other
helicopters of the same type designs.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed one document that co-publishes eight Airbus
Helicopters Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (EASB) identification
numbers: No. 67.00.17 for Model AS365 N, N1, N2, and N3 helicopters and
non FAA-type certificated military Model AS365 F, Fs, Fi, K, and K2
helicopters; No. 67.00.10 for non FAA-type certificated military Model
AS565 MA, MB, MBe, SA, SB, and UB helicopters; No. 67.11 for non FAA-
type certificated military Model SA366 GA helicopters; No. 67A016 for
Model EC155 B and B1 helicopters; No. 67.00.77 for Model AS350 B3
helicopters; No. 67.00.48 for Model AS355 F, F1, F2, N, and NP
helicopters; No. 67.00.33 for non FAA-type certificated military Model
AS555 AF, AN, AP, SN, UF, and UN helicopters; and No. 67A021 for Model
EC130 B4 and T2 helicopters, each Revision 0 and dated July 25, 2019.
EASB Nos. 67.00.17, 67A016, 67.00.77, 67.00.48, and 67A021 are
incorporated by reference in this AD. EASB Nos. 67.00.10, 67.11, and
67.00.33 are not incorporated by reference in this AD.
This service information specifies procedures for inspecting the
links between the lower ball end fitting and the M/R actuator rods.
This service information also specifies procedures for applying a
slippage mark (red mark) and inspecting the slippage mark.
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.
This AD requires, within 30 hours time-in-service (TIS), with any
sealing compound on the lower ball end fitting link removed, inspecting
each M/R servo actuator for correct installation by inspecting the link
between the lower ball end fitting and the actuator rod for visible
threads and play between the actuator rod and the punched lockwasher,
inspecting for protrusion of the threaded shouldered bushing from the
punched lockwasher, and inspecting the alignment between the punching
of the punched lockwasher and the stud of the lower ball end fitting.
Depending on the inspection results, this AD requires replacing the M/R
servo actuator and reporting the inspection results to Airbus
Helicopters if there is any visible thread or play between the actuator
rod and the punched lockwasher, protrusion of the threaded shouldered
bushing, or misalignment between the punching of the punched lockwasher
and the stud of the lower ball end fitting. This AD also requires
applying a slippage mark from the actuator rod (excluding the chamfered
part of the rod) to the nut, including the punched lockwasher and the
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD is applicable to affected M/R servo actuators that were
supplied by Airbus Helicopters before August 12, 2019, whereas this AD
applies to affected M/R servo actuators that were manufactured before
July 25, 2019 or with an unknown date of manufacture, instead. The EASA
AD requires the one-time inspection within 55 flight hours, whereas
this AD requires the one-time inspection within 30 hours TIS instead.
The EASA AD requires a longer-term inspection of the slippage mark for
misalignment for affected M/R servo actuators regardless of when they
were originally supplied, whereas this AD does not. The FAA plans to
publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to give the public an
opportunity to comment on this longer-term requirement.
The FAA considers this AD to be an interim action. If final action
is later identified, the FAA might consider further rulemaking then.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
The requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) do not
apply when an agency finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553 to adopt
a rule without prior notice and comment. Because the FAA has determined
that it has good cause to adopt this rule without notice and comment,
RFA analysis is not required.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 1,270 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 M/R servo actuators takes about one work-hour for an
estimated cost of $85 per helicopter and $107,950 for the U.S. fleet.
a slippage mark takes a minimal amount of time at a nominal cost.
If required, reporting information takes about 1 hour for an
estimated cost of $85.
Replacing an M/R actuator takes about 2 work-hours and parts cost
up to $53,315 for an estimated cost of up to $53,485 per replacement.
Paperwork Reduction Act
A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not
required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for
failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of
information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. The OMB
Control Number for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public
reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be
approximately 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing
instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and
maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the
collection of information. All responses to this collection of
information are mandatory. Send comments regarding this burden estimate
or any other aspect of this collection of information, including
suggestions for reducing this burden to: Information Collection
Clearance Officer, Federal Aviation Administration, 10101 Hillwood
Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177-1524.
FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date
Section 553(b)(3)(B) of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C.)
authorizes agencies to dispense with notice and comment procedures for
rules when the agency, for ``good cause'' finds that those procedures
are ``impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.''
Under this section, an agency, upon finding good cause, may issue a
final rule without seeking comment prior to the rulemaking.
An unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of
this AD without providing an opportunity for public comments prior to
adoption. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public
justifies waiving notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule
because the required corrective action must be completed within 30
hours TIS, a time period of up to one month based on the average
flight-hour utilization rate of these helicopters. Therefore, the FAA
finds good cause that notice and opportunity for prior public comment
are impracticable. In addition, for the reason(s) stated above, the FAA
finds that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in
less than 30 days.
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 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, I certify that this AD:
1. Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order
2. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska.
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