DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0092; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-01501-R]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters (Type Certificate
Previously Held by Eurocopter France) Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive
2010-16-51, which applies to certain Eurocopter France (now Airbus
Helicopters (Airbus)) Model SA330J helicopters. AD 2010-16-51 requires
inspecting for a gap between the main gearbox (MGB) oil cooling fan
assembly (fan) rotor blade and the upper section of the guide vane
bearing housing and depending on the results, replacing the two fan
rotor shaft bearings with two airworthy bearings. Since the FAA issued
AD 2010-16-51, Airbus has developed an improved MGB fan rotor shaft
bearing design. This proposed AD would retain the inspection required
by AD 2010-16-51, and propose installing improved MGB fan rotor shaft
bearings and repetitively inspecting the new improved MGB fan rotor
shaft bearings, as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency
(EASA) AD, which is proposed for incorporation by reference (IBR). The
FAA is proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by April
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 EASA material that is proposed for IBR in this AD, contact the
EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221
8999 000; email ADs@easa.europa.eu; internet www.easa.europa.eu. You
may find this material on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu.
You may view this 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-2021-0092.
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-2021-
0092; 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 NPRM, 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: Mahmood Shah, Aerospace Engineer,
Certification Section, Fort Worth ACO Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood
Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5538; email
The FAA invites you to send any written relevant data, views, or
arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed
under ADDRESSES. Include "Docket No. FAA-2021-0092; Project Identifier
MCAI-2020-01501-R" at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful
comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, 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 proposal 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 proposal.
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 NPRM 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 NPRM, 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 NPRM. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to
Mahmood Shah, Aerospace Engineer, Certification Section, Fort Worth ACO
Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone
(817) 222-5538; email Mahmood.email@example.com. Any commentary that the
FAA receives that is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed
in the public docket for this rulemaking.
The FAA issued AD 2010-16-51, Amendment 39-16410 (75 FR 53857,
September 2, 2010) (AD 2010-16-51), which applies to all Eurocopter
France (now Airbus) Model SA330J helicopters. AD 2010-16-51 requires,
using a 0.2 millimeter (mm) (0.008 inch) feeler gauge attached to a
rigid rod, inspecting for a gap between a fan rotor blade and the upper
section of the guide vane bearing housing over the entire width of the
blade. If the feeler gauge can be inserted between the blade and the
housing (a gap greater than or equal to 0.2 mm), AD 2010-16-51 requires
no further action. If the feeler gauge cannot be inserted between the
blade and the housing (a gap less than 0.2 mm), AD 2010-16-51 requires
replacing the two fan rotor shaft bearings with two airworthy bearings
and re-inspecting for the minimum gap. The FAA issued AD 2010-16-51 to
prevent rotor burst of the MGB fan, damage to the hydraulic lines and
flight controls, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
Actions Since AD 2010-16-51 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2010-16-51, Airbus has developed an
improved MGB fan rotor shaft bearing design and issued new service
Accordingly, the EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member
States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD No. 2020-0171, dated
28, 2020 (EASA AD 2020-0171), to correct an unsafe condition for all
Airbus Helicopters, Eurocopter, Eurocopter France, Aerospatiale, Sud
Aviation Model SA 330 J helicopters.
This proposed AD was prompted by the newly developed MGB fan rotor
shaft bearing design. The FAA is proposing this AD to prevent rotor
burst of the MGB fan, damage to the hydraulic lines and flight
controls, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. See the
EASA AD for additional background information.
Further, since the FAA issued AD 2010-16-51, Eurocopter France
changed its name to Airbus Helicopters. This proposed AD reflects that
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
For MGB fan rotor shaft bearings (both rear and front) part number
(P/N) 704A33651114 (manufacturer P/N (MP/N) 205FFTX74K6-G33) and MGB
fan rotor shaft bearings (both rear and front) P/N 704A33651268 (MP/N
594918), EASA AD 2020-0171 describes procedures for inspecting for play
(a gap) between the MGB fan rotor blade and the upper section of the
guide vane bearing housing. If there is play that does not meet the
minimum requirement, the EASA AD requires replacing the affected MGB
fan rotor shaft bearings with MGB fan rotor shaft bearings (both rear
and front) P/N 704A33651268 (MP/N 594918).
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.
FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD
These products have been approved by the aviation authority of
another country, and are approved for operation in the United States.
Pursuant to the bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority,
the FAA has been notified of the unsafe condition described in the EASA
AD referenced above. The FAA is proposing this AD after evaluating all
the relevant information and determining the unsafe condition described
previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same
Explanation of Retained Requirements
Although this proposed AD does not explicitly restate the
requirements of AD 2010-16-51, this proposed AD would retain a certain
requirement of AD 2010-16-51. This requirement is referenced in EASA AD
2020-0171, which, in turn, is referenced in paragraph (g) of this
Proposed AD Requirements
This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified
in EASA AD 2020-0171 described previously, as incorporated by
reference, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the
regulatory text of this AD and except as discussed under "Differences
Between this Proposed AD and the EASA AD."
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 2020-0171
will be incorporated by reference in the FAA final rule. This proposed
AD would, therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2020-0171 in its
entirety, through that incorporation, except for any differences
identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of this proposed 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 2020-0171 that is required for compliance with EASA AD 2020-
0171 will be available on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov
by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0092 after the FAA
final rule is published.
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD applies to all Model SA 330 J helicopters, whereas this
proposed AD applies to certain Model SA330J helicopters instead. The
EASA AD refers to flight hours, whereas this proposed AD uses hours
time-in-service. The EASA AD requires inspecting for play, whereas this
proposed AD requires inspecting for a gap instead. The EASA AD requires
returning certain parts, whereas this proposed AD requires removing the
parts from service instead. The EASA AD requires completing a response
form, whereas this proposed AD does not.
The FAA considers this proposed AD interim action. If final action
is later identified, the FAA might consider further rulemaking then.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 15 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 proposed AD.
Inspecting for a gap between the MGB fan rotor blade and the upper
section of the guide vane bearing housing would take about 2 work-hours
for an estimated cost of $170 per helicopter and $2,550 for the U.S.
fleet, per inspection cycle.
Replacing a set of two bearings would take about 6 work-hours and
parts would cost up to about $1,665 for an estimated cost of up to
$2,175 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 products identified in this rulemaking action.
The FAA determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism
implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would 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 this proposed
(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
The Proposed Amendment
Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the
Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 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) 2010-16-51, Amendment 39-16410
(75 FR 53857, September 2, 2010); and
b. Adding the following new AD: