DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0027; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00048-R;
Amendment 39-21425; AD 2021-04-04]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: The FAA is superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2020-19-
02, which applied to certain Airbus Helicopters (previously Eurocopter
France) Model SA330J helicopters. AD 2020-19-02 required repetitively
inspecting affected tail rotor (T/R) blades and depending on the
inspection results, repairing or replacing the T/R blade. AD 2020-19-02
also prohibited installing an affected T/R blade unless it passed the
inspections. This AD retains the requirements of AD 2020-19-02 and also
clarifies the applicability, clarifies the affected T/R blades in the
required actions, reduces a compliance time, and corrects the
prohibition requirement. This AD was prompted by the determination that
these corrections are necessary. The FAA is issuing this AD to address
the unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD becomes effective March 1, 2021.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain document listed in this AD as of October 7, 2020
(85 FR 59416, September 22, 2020).
The FAA must receive comments on this AD by March 29, 2021.
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.
Fax: (202) 493-2251.
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 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 this service information 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 at https://www.regulations.gov
by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0027; 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 final rule, the
European Aviation Safety Agency (now European Union Aviation Safety
Agency) (EASA) AD, any comments received, and other information. The
street address for Docket Operations is listed above.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matt Fuller, AD Program Manager,
General Aviation & Rotorcraft Unit, Airworthiness Products Section,
Operational Safety Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX
76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The FAA issued AD 2020-19-02, Amendment 39-21243 (85 FR 59416,
September 22, 2020) (AD 2020-19-02), for certain Airbus Helicopters
(previously Eurocopter France) Model SA330J helicopters. AD 2020-19-02
required, for each T/R blade part number (P/N) 330A12-0005-(all dash
numbers) and 330A12-0006-(all dash numbers), repetitively accomplishing
a visual and in-depth inspection for debonding and eddy current
inspecting for a crack. If there was debonding within allowable limits,
AD 2020-19-02 required repairing or replacing the T/R blade. If there
was debonding that exceeded allowable limits or a crack, AD 2020-19-02
required replacing the T/R blade. AD 2020-19-02 also prohibited
installing an affected T/R blade unless it passed the inspections. AD
2020-19-02 was prompted by EASA AD No. 2016-0059-E, dated March 22,
2016 (EASA AD 2016-0059-E), issued by the EASA, which is the Technical
Agent for the Member States of the European Union, to correct an unsafe
condition for Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter, Eurocopter
France, Aerospatiale) Model SA 330 J helicopters. EASA AD 2016-0059-E
retains the requirements of Direction G[eacute]n[eacute]rale de
l'Aviation Civile (DGAC) France AD 87-032-052(B)R3, dated January 23,
1991, which it supersedes, and also mandates improved service
instructions. EASA advises of two reports of cracked metal T/R blade
skin, which subsequently led to rotor blade vibrations and forced
landing of the helicopter. According to EASA, this condition, if not
addressed, could result in additional occurrences of T/R blade
structural damage, possibly resulting in significant vibrations and
reduced control of the helicopter.
Actions Since AD 2020-19-02 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2020-19-02, it was identified that the
compliance time for the initial visual inspection of T/R blade P/N
330A12-0006-(all dash numbers) (with a de-icing system) was
inadvertently stated as within 30 hours time-in-service (TIS). This
final rule corrects this compliance time to within 15 hours TIS.
Since the FAA issued AD 2020-19-02, it was also identified that the
parts prohibition requirement could cause confusion about when the
inspections must be accomplished prior to installation. This final rule
Additionally, this final rule clarifies the applicability by
identifying that T/R blade P/N 330A12-0005-(all dash numbers) is
without a de-icing system installed and that T/R blade P/N 330A12-0006-
(all dash numbers) is with a de-icing system installed. This final rule
also clarifies the required actions by adding the P/Ns.
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
the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop
on other helicopters of the same type design.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Emergency Alert Service
Bulletin No. 05.101, Revision 0, dated March 21, 2016, for Model SA330J
helicopters with certain T/R blades with and without a de-icing system
installed. This service information specifies procedures for a visual
and in-depth inspection of the T/R blades for skin debonding and an
eddy current inspection of the T/R blades for a crack using various
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, for T/R blade P/N 330A12-0006-(all dash numbers)
(with a de-icing system), within 15 hours TIS after the effective date
of this AD or within 15 hours TIS after last inspecting the T/R blade
as required by paragraph (f)(1) of AD 2020-19-02, whichever occurs
first, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 15 hours TIS; and for
T/R blade P/N 330A12-0005-(all dash numbers) (without a de-icing
system), within 30 hours TIS after the effective date of this AD, or
within 30 hours TIS after last inspecting the T/R blade as required by
paragraph (f)(1) of AD 2020-19-02, whichever occurs first, and
thereafter at intervals not to exceed 30 hours TIS:
Accomplishing a visual and in-depth inspection of each T/R
blade for debonding. If there is debonding within allowable limits,
this AD requires repairing or replacing the T/R blade. If there is
debonding that exceeds allowable limits, this AD requires replacing the
Eddy current inspecting each T/R blade for a crack. If
there is a crack, this AD requires replacing the T/R blade.
This AD also prohibits installing an affected T/R blade on any
helicopter unless it passes the inspections required by this AD.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD requires returning a T/R blade with a discrepancy to
Airbus Helicopters; whereas this AD requires repairing or replacing the
T/R blade if there is debonding within allowable limits and replacing
the T/R blade if there is debonding that exceeds allowable limits or a
Justification for Immediate Adoption and Determination of the Effective
Section 553(b)(3)(B) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5
U.S.C. 551 et seq.) 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 providing notice and seeking
comment prior to issuance. Further, section 553(d) of the APA
authorizes agencies to make rules effective in less than thirty days,
upon a finding of good cause.
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 foregoing notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule
because the initial instance of the repetitive inspections must be
completed within 15 or 30 hours TIS, a time period of up to
approximately two months based on the average flight-hour utilization
rates of these helicopters. Accordingly, notice and opportunity for
prior public comment are impracticable and contrary to the public
interest pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B).
In addition, 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,
for the same reasons the FAA found good cause to forego notice and
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-2021-0027; Project Identifier MCAI-
2021-00048-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, General Aviation & Rotorcraft Unit,
Airworthiness Products Section, Operational Safety 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
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 prior notice and
comment, RFA analysis is not required.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 17 helicopters of U.S.
Registry. Labor rates are estimated at $85 per work-hour. Based on
these numbers, the FAA estimates the following costs to comply with
Inspecting the T/R blades for debonding takes about 0.75 work-hour
for an estimated cost of $64 per helicopter and $1,088 for the U.S.
fleet, per inspection cycle. Eddy current inspecting the T/R blades for
a crack takes about 1.75 work-hours for an estimated cost of $149 per
helicopter and $2,533 for the U.S. fleet, per inspection cycle.
If required, replacing a T/R blade takes about 4 work-hours and
parts cost about $19,000, for an estimated cost of $19,340.
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.
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 12866, and
(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:
a. Removing Airworthiness Directive 2020-19-02, Amendment 39-21243 (85
FR 59416, September 22, 2020); and
b. Adding the following new airworthiness directive: