DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0021; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-01088-R;
Amendment 39-21419; AD 2021-03-16]
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, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350BA,
AS350D, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP
helicopters. This AD was prompted by the in-flight loss of a sliding
door. This AD requires inspecting each sliding door and replacing the
upper rail or front roller or removing the front roller from service if
necessary. The actions of this AD are intended to address an unsafe
condition on these products.
DATES: This AD becomes effective March 3, 2021.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of certain documents listed in this AD as of March 3, 2021.
The FAA must receive comments on this AD by April 2, 2021.
ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow
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-
0021; 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-2021-0021.
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 invites you to send any written data, views, or arguments
about this final rule. Send your comments to an address listed under
ADDRESSES. Include ``Docket No. FAA-2021-0021 and Project Identifier
MCAI-2020-01088-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 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
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 AD No. 2020-0175, dated August 5, 2020 (EASA
AD 2020-0175), for all serial-numbered Airbus Helicopters Model AS 350
and AS 355 helicopters if equipped with a left-hand (LH) and/or right-
hand (RH) sliding door. EASA advises that an AS 350 B3 helicopter lost
the LH door in-flight. The event occurred while flying with the door
locked in the open position. The results of the technical analysis of
this event indicated that the loss of the sliding door resulted from
the disengagement of the roller from the upper rail. This condition, if
not detected and corrected, could lead to sliding door in-flight
detachment, possibly resulting in damage to the helicopter, and/or
injury to persons on the ground. EASA also advises that this scenario
may also develop on AS 355 helicopters sliding doors due to design
similarity. Accordingly, EASA AD 2020-0175 requires a one-time detailed
inspection of the LH and/or RH sliding doors and, depending on
findings, accomplishment of applicable corrective actions.
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 the same type designs.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
Airbus Helicopters has issued Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No.
AS350-52.00.54 and ASB No. AS355-52.00.32, each Revision 1 and each
dated July 30, 2020 (ASB AS350-52.00.54 and ASB AS355-52.00.32). ASB
AS350-52.00.54 applies to Model AS350-series helicopters and ASB AS355-
52.00.32 applies to Model AS355-series helicopters. The ASBs specify
inspecting the upper rail and roller of the of the LH and/or RH sliding
doors by inspecting the upper rail, and making sure that the
parallelism between the sliding door and its frame is correct, that the
front roller is in good condition, and that the installation of the
front roller is correct. The ASBs also specify notifying Airbus
Helicopters if any part is replaced and providing the part number of
the part replaced and the serial number and time since new of the
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, within 30 hours time-in-service (TIS) after the
effective date of this AD, inspecting the upper rail of each RH and LH
door for parallelism, deformation, corrosion, and cracking and
repairing or replacing the upper rail before further flight if
necessary; and with each sliding door removed, inspecting the front
roller to determine if it is below the minimum diameter and height, if
it has any corrosion or flat spot, and if it is correctly installed. If
the front roller is below the minimum diameter, below the minimum
height, or has any flat spot or corrosion, this AD requires removing
the front roller from service before further flight. If the front
roller was not correctly installed, this AD requires reinstalling it
correctly before further flight.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
Due to a recent additional report of an in-flight door loss, this
AD requires compliance within 30 hours TIS after the effective date of
the AD; EASA AD 2020-0175 requires compliance within 165 flight hours
or 13 months and 6 days, whichever occurs first. The EASA AD requires
reporting information to Airbus Helicopters; this AD does not.
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 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 965 helicopters of U.S.
Registry and that operators may incur the following costs in order to
comply with this AD. Labor costs are $85 per work-hour.
Inspecting each door will take about 2 work-hours for an estimated
cost of $170 per helicopter and $164,050 for the U.S. fleet.
Replacing each upper rail, if necessary, will take about 3 work-
hours and parts will cost about $3,200, for an estimated cost of $3,455
Replacing each front roller, if necessary, will take about 1 work-
hour and parts will cost about $250 for an estimated cost of $335 per
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 an initial action is required within 30 hours TIS, which could
equate to 1 month in these high usage rotorcraft; and corrective
action, if necessary, is required before further flight. 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