DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2018-0893; Product Identifier 2018-SW-032-AD; Amendment
39-21319; AD 2020-23-03]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The FAA is superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2017-09-05
for Airbus Helicopters Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, AS332L1, AS332L2,
and EC225LP helicopters. AD 2017-09-05 required repetitively checking
screws in the emergency flotation gear. This new AD retains the
requirements of AD 2017-09-05 but also requires installing a
modification (MOD), which is a terminating action for the repetitive
checks. This AD was prompted by the development of the MOD by Airbus
Helicopters that addresses the unsafe condition. The actions of this AD
are intended to address an unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD is effective January 4, 2021.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of January 4,
ADDRESSES: For service information identified in this final rule,
contact Airbus Helicopters, 2701 N Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX
75052; telephone 800-232-0323 or Fax: 972-641-3775; or at https://www.airbus.com/helicopters/services/technical-support.html.
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. It is also available on the internet at https://www.
regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2018-0893.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov
in Docket No. FAA-2018-0893; 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 Aviation
Safety Agency (now 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 U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-
30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue
SE, Washington, DC 20590.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matt Fuller, AD Program Manager,
Operational Safety Branch, Airworthiness Products Section, General
Aviation & Rotorcraft Unit, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX
76177; telephone 817-222-5110; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14
CFR part 39 to remove AD 2017-09-05, Amendment 39-18867 (82 FR 21913,
May 11, 2017) (``AD 2017-09-05''), and add a new AD. AD 2017-09-05
applied to Airbus Helicopters Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, AS332L1,
AS332L2, and EC225LP helicopters with emergency flotation gear
installed. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on August 7, 2020
(85 FR 47921). The NPRM proposed to require, within 15 hours time-in-
service (TIS) and thereafter, before each flight over water, visually
checking each emergency flotation gear left-hand (LH) and right-hand
(RH) rear upper fitting for the presence of screw heads and looseness.
An owner/operator (pilot) may perform the required visual check but
must enter compliance with the applicable paragraph of this AD in the
helicopter maintenance records in accordance with 14 CFR 43.9(a)(1)
through (4) and 91.417(a)(2)(v). A pilot may perform this check because
it involves visually checking the rear upper fittings of the LH and RH
emergency flotation gears for the presence of screw heads and twisting
the screws by hand. This action can be performed equally well by a
pilot or a mechanic. This check is an exception to the FAA's standard
maintenance regulations. If any screws are loose or any screw heads are
missing, the NPRM proposed to require removing from service the screws
on each LH and RH side on the flotation gear rear fitting and
installing MOD 0728456, base washers and spherical washers. The NPRM
also proposed to require, within 300 hours TIS, installing MOD 0728456
as a terminating action for the repetitive checks.
AD 2017-09-05 was prompted by EASA AD 2015-0239-E, dated December
18, 2015 (EASA AD 2015-0239-E), issued by EASA, which is the Technical
Agent for the Member States of the European Union, to correct an unsafe
condition for Airbus Helicopters Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L,
AS332L1, AS332L2, and EC225LP helicopters. EASA advised that a screw
ruptured on the rear upper fitting on the LH emergency flotation gear
of an AS332 helicopter. EASA stated that this condition, if not
detected and corrected, could result in the failure of an emergency
flotation system when ditching and unstable floating of the helicopter,
possibly resulting in injuries to the occupants. The EASA AD
consequently required repetitive inspections of the lower attachment
screws of rear upper fitting on the rear LH and RH emergency flotation
gears. EASA stated that the root cause of the failure had not yet been
After the FAA issued AD 2017-09-05, Airbus Helicopters identified
the root cause of the screw rupture as a tapering gap under the fitting
attachment screw heads creating excessive stress loads. Consequently,
EASA issued AD No. 2018-0090, dated April 20, 2018 (EASA AD 2018-0090),
to supersede EASA AD 2015-0239-E. EASA AD 2018-0090 retains the
repetitive inspection requirements in EASA AD 2015-0239-E and also
requires the installation of Airbus Helicopters MOD 0728456 as a
terminating action for the repetitive inspections. MOD 0728456 involves
the installation of spherical washers and longer screws on the rear
upper fittings of the flotation gear to remove the stress applied to
the screw heads.
Actions Since the NPRM Was Issued
Since the FAA issued the NPRM, it was identified that the NPRM
specified installing MOD 0728456 by using Airbus Helicopters Alert
Service Bulletin (ASB) No. AS332-25.03.43 or ASB No. EC225-25A207, each
Revision 0 and dated April 4, 2018, in paragraphs (f)(3)(i) through
(iii) of this AD. However, the FAA intended to update this service
information to Airbus Helicopters ASB No. AS332-25.03.43 or ASB No.
EC225-25A207, each Revision 2 and dated March 21, 2019. Since the
updated service information does not affect compliance, this final rule
allows the use of either Revision 0 or Revision 2 of this service
information to install MOD 0728456.
The FAA gave the public the opportunity to participate in
developing this final rule, but the FAA did not receive any comments on
the NPRM or on the determination of the cost to the public.
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 these same type design and that air safety and the
public interest require adopting the AD requirements as proposed except
for minor editorial changes. The two instances of 17mm (+ 0.1/+ 0.1) as
published in the Required Actions of the NPRM have been corrected to
17mm (+ 0.1/- 0.1). These minor editorial changes are consistent with
the intent of the proposals in the NPRM and will not increase the
economic burden on any operator nor increase the scope of this AD.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD allows using tools for the inspection, while this AD
requires checking by hand. The EASA AD requires contacting Airbus
Helicopters if a screw is missing or loose, while this AD does not. The
EASA AD requires that repetitive inspections occur at intervals not to
exceed 15 hours TIS, while this AD requires the repetitive checks
before each flight over water.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
Airbus Helicopters has issued ASB No. AS332-25.03.43, Revision 0,
dated April 4, 2018, for Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, AS332L1, and
AS332L2 helicopters and for military Model AS332B, AS332B1, AS332F1,
AS332M, and AS332M1 helicopters. The FAA also reviewed ASB No. EC225-
25A207, Revision 0, dated April 4, 2018, for Model EC 225 LP
helicopters. This service information specifies, within 12 months,
installing MOD 0728456 by installing spherical leveling washers and
longer screws to attach the rear upper fittings of the LH and RH
emergency flotation gear. Airbus
Helicopters specifies that helicopters that have undergone MOD 0728456
are exempt from these service information requirements. Airbus
Helicopters revised each of these ASBs, now at Revision 2 and dated
March 21, 2019, to specify an alternative to the protection of the
spotfacing(s) and add an instruction to apply primer after the
protection and before painting the parts.
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.
Other Related Service Information
Airbus Helicopters has issued Emergency Alert Service Bulletin
(EASB) No. 05.01.06, Revision 0, dated December 18, 2015, for Model
AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, AS332L1, and AS332L2 helicopters and for
military Model AS332B, AS332B1, AS332F1, AS332M, and AS332M1
helicopters, and EASB No. 05A047, Revision 0, dated December 18, 2015,
for Model EC225LP helicopters. This service information specifies
repetitively inspecting the lower screws of the rear upper fitting on
the rear LH and RH emergency floating gears for the presence of the
heads and stressing the screw heads using a tool to make sure that the
screw head does not move. If all screw heads are present, the service
information requires no further action. If at least one screw head is
missing or is loose, the service information specifies replacing the
two lower screws and the upper screw and informing Airbus Helicopters.
Airbus Helicopters revised each of these EASBs to Revision 1, dated
April 4, 2018, to exclude helicopters with MOD 0728456 installed from
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 29 helicopters of U.S.
Registry. The FAA estimates that operators may incur the following
costs in order to comply with this AD. Labor costs are estimated at $85
Checking the screws for looseness and a missing head takes about 5
minutes, for an estimated cost of about $7 per helicopter and $203 for
the U.S. fleet.
Performing the MOD takes about 16 work-hours, and parts cost about
$3,030 for total estimated cost of $4,390 per helicopter and $127,310
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 has 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
(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:
a. Removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2017-09-05, Amendment 39-18867
(82 FR 21913, May 11, 2017); and
b. Adding the following new AD: