DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-0919; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-00637-R;
Amendment 39-21300; AD 2020-22-04]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD)
Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Model EC135P1, EC135P2, EC135P2+,
EC135P3, EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, EC135T3, and EC635T2+ helicopters.
This AD was prompted by reports of improper heat treatment of titanium
(Ti)-bolts installed on the forward and aft tail rotor drive shafts,
resulting in a broken Ti-bolt. This AD requires an inspection to
determine if Ti-bolts installed on the forward and aft tail rotor drive
shafts are affected parts, and replacement if necessary, as specified
European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is incorporated
reference. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition
DATES: This AD becomes effective November 18, 2020.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of November 18,
The FAA must receive comments on this AD by December 18, 2020.
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 incorporated by reference (IBR) in this AD, contact
the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; phone: +49
221 8999 1000; email: ADs@easa.europa.eu; internet: www.easa.europa.eu.
You may find this IBR material on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu.
You may view this IBR 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 817-222-5110. It is also available in the AD
docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for
and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-0919.
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-
0919; 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, 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: Kathleen Arrigotti, Aviation Safety
Engineer, Large Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, FAA,
2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax: 206-231-
3218; email: email@example.com.
The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2020-0099, dated May 5, 2020 (EASA
AD 2020-0099) (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing
Airworthiness Information, or ``the MCAI''), to correct an unsafe
condition for all Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Model EC135P1,
EC135P2, EC135P2+, EC135P3, EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, EC135T3,
EC635P2+, EC635P3, EC635T1, EC635T2+, and EC635T3 helicopters. Model
EC635P3, EC635P2+, EC635T1, and EC635T3 helicopters are not
certificated by the FAA and are not included on the U.S. type
certificate data sheet; this AD therefore does not include those
helicopters in the applicability.
This AD was prompted by reports of improper heat treatment of Ti-
bolts on the forward and aft tail rotor drive shafts, resulting in a
broken Ti-bolt. The FAA is issuing this AD to address improper heat
treatment of Ti-bolts on the forward and aft tail rotor drive shafts,
which could result in rupture of a Ti-bolt installed in a critical
location, possibly resulting in reduced control of the helicopter. See
the MCAI for additional background information.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2020-0099 describes procedures for an inspection to
determine if Ti-bolts installed on the forward and aft tail rotor drive
shafts are affected parts, and replacement of affected parts. 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.
This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another
country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant
to the FAA's bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority,
the FAA has been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI
referenced above. The FAA is issuing this AD because the FAA evaluated
all pertinent information and determined the unsafe condition exists
and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type
Requirements of This AD
This AD requires accomplishing the actions specified in EASA AD
2020-0099 described previously, as incorporated by reference, except
for any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of
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 2020-0099
is incorporated by reference in this final rule. This AD, therefore,
requires compliance with EASA AD 2020-0099 in its entirety, through
that incorporation, except for any differences identified as exceptions
in the regulatory text of this 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 2020-0099 that is
required for compliance with EASA AD 2020-0099 is available on the
internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating
Docket No. FAA-2020-0919.
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 improper heat treatment of
Ti-bolts installed on the forward and aft tail rotor drive shafts could
lead to rupture of a Ti-bolt installed in a critical location, possibly
resulting in reduced control of the helicopter. In addition, the
compliance time for the required action is shorter than the time
necessary for the public to comment and for publication of the final
rule. Therefore, the FAA finds good cause that notice and opportunity
for prior public comment are impracticable. In addition, for the
reasons stated above, the FAA finds that good cause exists pursuant to
5 U.S.C. 553(d) for making this amendment effective in less than 30
This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight
safety and was not preceded by notice and an opportunity for public
comment. However, the FAA invites you to send any written comments,
data, or views about this AD. The most helpful comments reference a
specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any
recommended change, and include supporting data. To ensure the docket
does not contain duplicate comments, commenters should submit only one
copy of the comments. Send your comments to an address listed under the
ADDRESSES section. Include ``Docket No. FAA2020-0919; Project
Identifier MCAI-2020-00637-R at the beginning of your 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, as well
as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA
personnel concerning this AD. The FAA will consider all comments
received by the closing date for comments. The FAA may amend this AD
because of those comments.
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 AD 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 AD, 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 AD. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to
Kathleen Arrigotti, Aviation Safety Engineer, Large Aircraft Section,
International Validation Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines,
WA 98198; phone and fax: 206-231-3218; email:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Any commentary that the FAA receives that
is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public
docket for this rulemaking.
Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)
The requirements of the 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 330 helicopters of U.S.
registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this AD:
Estimated Costs for Required Actions
|2 work-hours x $85 per hour =
The FAA estimates the following costs
to do any necessary on-
condition replacements that would be required based on the results of
any required actions. The FAA has no way of determining the number of
helicopter that might need these on-condition replacements:
Estimated Costs of On-Condition Actions
|4 work-hours x $85 per hour =
* The FAA has received no definitive
data on which to base the parts
cost estimate for the on-condition replacements specified in this AD.
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 above, I certify that this AD:
(1) Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive
Order 12866, and
(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