DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-1027; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-01375-R;
Amendment 39-21333; AD 2020-24-03]
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)
Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350D,
AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, and AS355F2 helicopters. This AD requires
testing the UP/DOWN switches of a certain part-numbered DUNLOP cyclic
stick grip, installing a placard, and revising the existing Rotorcraft
Flight Manual (RFM) for your helicopter, or removing the DUNLOP cyclic
stick grip. This AD was prompted by an inadvertent activation of the
rescue hoist cable cutter. The actions of this AD are intended to
address an unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD becomes effective December 16, 2020.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of certain documents listed in this AD as of December 16,
The FAA must receive comments on this AD by January 15, 2021.
ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow
online 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-
1027; 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-2020-1027.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel E. Moore, Aviation Safety
Engineer, Regulations & Policy Section, Rotorcraft Standards 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 data, views, or arguments
about this final rule. Send your comments to an address listed under
ADDRESSES. Include the docket number FAA-2020-1027 and Project
Identifier MCAI-2020-01375-R at the beginning of your comments. The
most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the final rule,
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 final rule 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 final rule.
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 Daniel
E. Moore, Aviation Safety Engineer, Regulations & Policy Section,
Rotorcraft Standards Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX
76177; telephone 817-222-5110; email email@example.com. Any
commentary that the FAA receives which is 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 Emergency AD No. 2020-0217-E, dated
October 6, 2020, to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters
(AH), formerly Eurocopter, Eurocopter France, Aerospatiale, Model AS
350 B, AS 350 BA, AS 350 B1, AS 350 B2, AS 350 D, AS 355 E, AS 355 F,
AS 355 F1, and AS 355 F2 helicopters. EASA advises of a report of an
unintended release of the rescue hoist hook on a Model AS 350 B2
helicopter during a ground check. The operator was using the UP/DOWN
switches for rescue hoist control, installed on DUNLOP cyclic stick
grip part number (P/N) AC66444, when the hoist's electrically-actuated
cable cutter function activated. EASA states that this condition, if
not corrected, could lead to further events of inadvertent activation
of the rescue hoist cable cutter function and consequent detachment of
an external load or person from the helicopter hoist, possibly
resulting in personal injury or injury to persons on the ground.
To address this potential unsafe condition, Airbus Helicopters
published Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (EASB) Nos. 01.00.58 and
01.00.72, each Revision 0 and dated October 1, 2020, to introduce an
Accordingly, the EASA AD requires installing a dedicated placard in
the cockpit and amending the applicable RFM to prohibit the in-flight
use of the UP/DOWN switches for rescue hoist control installed on
DUNLOP cyclic stick grip P/N AC66444. EASA states its AD is considered
an interim action and 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 information provided by EASA and determining the unsafe
condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters
of these same type designs.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA has reviewed Airbus Helicopters EASB No. 01.00.58 for Model
AS355-series helicopters and Airbus Helicopters EASB No. 01.00.72 for
Model AS350-series helicopters, each Revision 0 and dated October 1,
2020, which are co-published as one document. This service information
specifies installing a placard and revising the Flight Manual to
prohibit the use of the UP/DOWN switches of the DUNLOP cyclic stick
grip manufacturer P/N (MP/N) AC66444.
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 accomplishing a ground test of the UP/DOWN
switches of DUNLOP cyclic stick grip MP/N AC66444 for proper function
before each hoist operation. If there is any uncommanded hoist action,
this AD requires removing the DUNLOP cyclic stick grip from service.
If DUNLOP cyclic stick grip MP/N AC66444 is installed, before the
next hoist operation, this AD requires installing a placard and
revising the existing RFM for your helicopter to prohibit the use of
the UP/DOWN switches of the DUNLOP cyclic stick grip. Alternatively, this
allows removing DUNLOP cyclic stick grip MP/N AC66444, however before
DUNLOP cyclic stick grip is re-installed, this AD requires
accomplishing the ground test of the UP/DOWN switches and installing
the placard and revising the existing RFM for your helicopter. This AD
also prohibits installing an affected DUNLOP cyclic stick grip unless
the ground testing of the UP/DOWN switches has been accomplished, the
placard has been installed, and the existing RFM for your helicopter
has been revised.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD applies to all Airbus Helicopters Model AS 350 B, AS
350 BA, AS 350 B1, AS 350 B2, AS 350 D, AS 355 E, AS 355 F, AS 355 F1,
and AS 355 F2 helicopters, whereas this AD applies to Airbus
Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350D, AS355E,
AS355F, AS355F1, and AS355F2 helicopters with DUNLOP cyclic stick grip
MP/N AC66444 with UP/DOWN switches for rescue hoist control installed
instead. This AD requires accomplishing a ground test of the UP/DOWN
switches for proper function before each hoist operation, whereas the
EASA AD does not.
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 FAA has determined
that it has good cause to adopt this rule without prior notice and
comment, RFA analysis is not required.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 390 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.
Accomplishing a ground test of the UP/DOWN switches for proper
function takes a minimal amount of time for a nominal cost. Installing
a placard and revising the existing RFM for your helicopter takes about
0.5 work-hour for an estimated cost of $43 per helicopter and $16,770
for the U.S. fleet. Alternatively, replacing the affected DUNLOP cyclic
stick grip takes about 2.5 work-hours and parts cost about $2,500 for
an estimated cost of $2,713.
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 there are required corrective actions that must be completed
before the next hoist operation. Therefore, notice and opportunity for
prior public comment are impracticable and contrary to public interest
pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B). 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 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