DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0135; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-01044-R]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive
2019-07-07 for various Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH (Airbus
Helicopters) Model MBB-BK117 and Model BO-105 helicopters. AD 2019-07-
07 requires removing certain part numbered swashplate bellows (bellows)
from service, cleaning and inspecting certain parts, and depending on
the inspection results removing certain parts from service, applying
torque, and repetitively inspecting the swashplate assembly
(swashplate). AD 2019-07-07 also prohibits the installation of certain
part-numbered bellows. This proposed AD would retain certain
requirements of AD 2019-07-07, expand the installation prohibition, add
additional inspections, and update the applicable service information.
The actions of this proposed AD are intended to address an unsafe
condition on these products.
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by April
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-2021-0135;
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 proposed AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (now European
Union Aviation Safety Aviation) (EASA) 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
For service information identified in this proposed 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. You may
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.
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 Matthew.Fuller@faa.gov.
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-2021-0135; Project Identifier
MCAI-2020-01044-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 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
Matthew.Fuller@faa.gov. Any commentary that the FAA receives which is
not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket
for this rulemaking.
The FAA issued AD 2019-07-07, Amendment 39-19618 (84 FR 16394,
April 19, 2019) (AD 2019-07-07) for Airbus Helicopters Model BO-105A,
BO-105C, BO-105S, BO-105LS A-3, MBB-BK 117A-1, MBB-BK 117A-3, MBB-BK
117A-4, MBB-BK 117B-1, MBB-BK 117B-2, MBB-BK 117C-1, MBB-BK 117C-2, and
MBB-BK 117D-2 helicopters. AD 2019-07-07 requires a one-time inspection
of the swashplate with the bellows removed and thereafter, a repetitive
inspection of the swashplate. AD 2019-07-07 also prohibits the
installation of certain part-numbered bellows and gearboxes with certain
AD 2019-07-07 was prompted by EASA AD No. 2016-0142, dated July 19,
2016, which was revised to EASA AD No. 2016-0142R1, dated April 12,
2018, issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member
States of the European Union. EASA advises of several reports of a
lower clamp found missing from the bellows and damaging the swashplate
bearing ring before becoming detached. EASA states an investigation
showed that over-torqueing can damage the clamp, which may have caused
the clamp to become loose and detach. According to EASA, this
condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to loss of a
swashplate clamp, and a detached clamp could damage the swashplate and
pitch link or strike the tail rotor, resulting in loss of control of
Actions Since AD 2019-07-07 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2019-07-07, it was identified that bellows
(part number) P/N B623M20X220 was inadvertently omitted from the
prohibition in the Required Actions paragraph. It was also identified
that Airbus Helicopters updated its service information by issuing
several alert service bulletins which specified removing the bellows
and repetitively inspecting the swashplate. Accordingly, this proposed
AD would update the service information and any incorporated by
reference information, add to the inspection requirements of AD 2019-
07-07, and prohibit installation of bellows P/N B623M20X220.
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 about the
unsafe condition described in its AD. The FAA is proposing this AD
after evaluating all known relevant information and determining that an
unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of
the same type designs.
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD requires compliance within different time intervals for
some actions than what this proposed AD would require. The EASA AD
allows a non-cumulative tolerance of 10 percent that may be applied to
the compliance times, and this proposed AD would not. This proposed AD
would apply to Model MBB-BK 117D-2 helicopters while the EASA AD does
not. The EASA AD applies to Model BO-105D helicopters, while this
proposed AD would not. The EASA AD requires reporting corrosion to
Airbus Helicopters while this proposed AD would not.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin (ASB)
BO105-40A-107 for Model BO105C-series, D-series and S-series
helicopters; ASB BO105 LS-40A-12 for Model BO-105LS A-3 helicopters;
ASB MBB-BK117-40A-115 for Model MBB-BK 117 A-1, MBB-BK 117 A-3, MBB-BK
117 A-4, MBB-BK 117 B-1, MBB-BK 117 B-2, and MBB-BK 117 C-1
helicopters; and ASB MBB-BK117 C-2-62A-007 for Model MBB-BK 117 C-2
helicopters, each Revision 5 and dated July 25, 2017. The FAA also
reviewed Airbus Helicopters ASB MBB-BK117 D-2-62A-003, Revision 3,
dated July 25, 2017, for Model MBB-BK 117 D-2 helicopters. This service
information specifies removing the bellows and repetitively inspecting
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.
Proposed AD Requirements
This proposed AD would require the following within 50 hours hours
Removing the affected bellows from the swashplate,
cleaning and inspecting the support tube for scratches, and depending
on the inspection results reworking the cylindrical area;
Inspecting the clamp for corrosion, damage and incorrect
installation, and, depending on the inspection results, removing the
clamp from service, reinstalling the clamp correctly and applying a
Inspecting each ball bearing for corrosion, and depending
on the inspection results, removing each ball bearing from service; and
Inspecting the deflection ring for foreign objects by
removing the lockwire, screws, and the outer deflection ring and
removing any foreign objects;
The proposed AD would also require, within 400 hours TIS,
inspecting the swashplate for foreign objects and excessive bearing
rolling friction. Finally, this proposed AD would prohibit installing
bellows P/N 105-10113.05, P/N 4619305044, P/N 4638305043, or P/N
B623M20X2240, or a gearbox with a bellows P/N 105-10113.05, P/N
4619305044, or P/N 4638305043 on any helicopter.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD would affect 211
helicopters of U.S. Registry. The FAA estimates that operators may
incur the following costs in order to comply with this proposed AD.
Labor costs are estimated at $85 per work-hour.
Inspecting the swashplate assembly would take about 3 work-hours
for an estimated cost of $255 per helicopter and $53,805 for the U.S.
fleet per inspection cycle.
Repairing a scratched support tube would take about 3 work-hours
for an estimated cost of $255 per helicopter.
Replacing a corroded or damaged clamp would take about 2 work-hours
and parts would cost about $8 for a cost of $178 per helicopter.
Replacing corroded ball bearings would take about 4 work-hours and
parts would cost about $3,000 for a cost of $3,340 per helicopter.
Removing foreign objects from the outer deflection ring would take
about 2 work-hours for an estimated cost of $170 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, I certify this proposed regulation:
1. Is not a "significant regulatory action" under Executive Order
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) 2019-07-07, Amendment 39-19618
(84 FR 16394, April 19, 2019) and,
b. Adding the following new AD: