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2021-04-15 AIRBUS HELICOPTERS: Amendment 39-21437; Docket No. FAA-2021-0094; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00100-R.
(a) EFFECTIVE DATE

    This airworthiness directive (AD) becomes effective March 23, 2021.

(b) AFFECTED ADS

    None.

(c) APPLICABILITY

    This AD applies to Airbus Helicopters  specified  in  paragraph (c)(1)
    and (2) of this AD, certificated in any category.

(1) Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N and AS355NP helicopters
    all serial numbers.

(2) Model AS350B3 helicopters,  all serial numbers  except those that have
    embodied  Modification  07.3148  in  production,  or  Eurocopter AS350
    Service Bulletin 55.00.14 (any revision) in service.

(d) SUBJECT

    Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC) Code 5531, Vertical Stabilizer,
    Spar/Rib.

(e) REASON

    This AD  was prompted  by a  report that,  during an unscheduled post-
    flight inspection  of  the  tail cone  area of  an Airbus  Helicopters
    Model AS355NP helicopter, a crack was  found in the spar of the  upper
    fin and fractures were found  in the two front attachment  screws. The
    FAA is issuing this  AD to address cracking  in the spar of  the upper
    part of the vertical fin and fractures in the front attachment screws.
    This condition could lead to in-flight separation of the upper part of
    the vertical fin, resulting in loss of control of the helicopter.

(f) COMPLIANCE

    Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified,  unless al-
    ready done.

(g) REQUIREMENTS

    Except as specified in paragraph (h)  of this AD:  Comply with all re-
    quired actions and compliance times specified in,  and  in  accordance
    with, EASA AD 2020-0186, dated August 20, 2020 (EASA AD 2020-0186).

(h) EXCEPTIONS TO EASA AD 2020-0186

(1) Where EASA AD 2020-0186 refers to its effective date, this AD requires
    using the effective date of this AD.

(2) The "Remarks" section of EASA AD 2020-0186 does not apply to this AD.

(3) The actions specified  in paragraph (2)  of  EASA AD 2020-0186 are not
    required by this AD.

(4) Where paragraph (3) of EASA AD 2020-0186 specifies to contact the man-
    ufacturer for approved repair instructions, for this AD, if any crack-
    ing is detected during any inspection,  repair  before  further flight
    using a method  approved  by  the  Manager,  International  Validation
    Branch, FAA. For a repair method to be approved by the Manager, Inter-
    national  Validation  Branch,  as  required  by  this  paragraph,  the
    Managerís approval letter must specifically refer to this AD.

(5) Where EASA AD 2020-0186 refers to flight hours (FH),  this AD requires
    using hours time-in-service.

(6) Where the service information  referred to in EASA AD 2020-0186 speci-
    fies to perform a visual inspection and "if in doubt" remove  the rear
    and the tail rotor gear box (TGB)  fairings to perform  a detailed in-
    spection and "carry out" a dye-penetrant inspection, those actions are
    required by this AD if any crack indication (e.g., paint chips, dents,
    or swelling) is found during any inspection done  without removing the
    rear and the TGB fairings.

(7) Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2020-0186 spec-
    ifies to scrap certain parts,  this AD requires  removing  those parts
    from service instead.

(i) SPECIAL FLIGHT PERMIT

    Special flight permits,  as described in 14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199, are
    not allowed.

(j) ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF COMPLIANCE (AMOCS)

(1) The Manager, International Validation Branch,  FAA,  has the authority
    to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures  found
    in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to
    your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as
    appropriate. If  sending information  directly to  the manager  of the
    International  Validation  Branch, send  it  to the  attention  of the
    person identified  in paragraph  (k) of  this AD.  Information may  be
    emailed to: 9-AVS-AIR-730-AMOC@faa.gov.

(2) Before using any approved AMOC,  notify your appropriate principal in-
    spector,  or  lacking a principal inspector,  the manager of the local
    flight standards district office/certificate holding district office.

(k) RELATED INFORMATION

    For more information about this AD,  contact Kathleen Arrigotti, Avia-
    tion Safety Engineer, Large Aircraft Section, International Validation
    Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St, Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax:
    206-231-3218; email: kathleen.arrigotti@faa.gov.

(l) MATERIAL INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

(1) The Director of the Federal Register  approved  the  incorporation  by
    reference (IBR) of  the service information  listed in this  paragraph
    under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.

(2) You must use this service information as applicable  to do the actions
    required by this AD, unless this AD specifies otherwise.

(i) European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2020-0186 dated August
    20, 2020.

(ii) [Reserved]

(3) For EASA AD 2020-0186, 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 EASA AD on the EASA web
    site at https://ad.easa.europa.eu.

(4) You may 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.  This material may be found in
    the AD  docket  on  the  Internet  at  https://www.regulations.gov  by
    searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0094.

(5) You may view this material  that is incorporated by reference  at  the
    National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).  For  information
    on the availability of this material at NARA, email fedreg.legal@nara.
    gov,   or  go  to   https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-
    locations.html.

Issued on February 9, 2021. Lance T Gant, Director, Compliance & Airworth-
iness Division, Aircraft Certification Service.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathleen Arrigotti, Aviation Safety Engi-
neer, Large Aircraft Section,  International Validation Branch,  FAA, 2200
South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax: 206-231-3218; email:
kathleen.arrigotti@faa.gov.
PREAMBLE 

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2021-0094; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00100-R;
Amendment 39-21437; AD 2021-04-15]
RIN 2120-AA64

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all
Airbus Helicopters Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N and
AS355NP helicopters; and certain Model AS350B3 helicopters. This AD was
prompted by a report that, during an unscheduled post-flight inspection
of the tail cone area, a crack was found in the spar of the upper part
of the vertical fin and fractures were found in the two front
attachment screws. This AD requires repetitive visual inspections of
the right-hand side of the vertical fin spar for discrepancies
(cracking), and corrective action if necessary, as specified in a
European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is incorporated
by reference. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe
condition on these products.

DATES: This AD becomes effective March 23, 2021.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of March 23,
2021.
The FAA must receive comments on this AD by April 22, 2021.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR
11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the
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 material incorporated by reference (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-2021-0094.

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-
0094; 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, 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: Kathleen Arrigotti, Aviation Safety
Engineer, Large Aircraft Section, International Validation Branch, FAA,
2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; phone and fax: 206-231-
3218; email: kathleen.arrigotti@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2020-0186, dated August 20, 2020
(EASA AD 2020-0186) (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing
Airworthiness Information, or the MCAI), to correct an unsafe condition
for all Airbus Helicopters Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2,
AS355N and AS355NP helicopters; and certain Model AS350B3 helicopters.
This AD was prompted by a report that, during an unscheduled post-
flight inspection of the tail cone area of an Airbus Helicopters Model
AS355NP helicopter, a crack was found in the spar of the upper part of
the vertical fin and fractures were found in the two front attachment
screws. Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B3 helicopters have a similar
vertical fin configuration and are subject to comparable load levels as
the affected Model AS355NP helicopter, therefore, this model may be
subject to the same unsafe condition revealed on the Model AS355NP
helicopter. The FAA is issuing this AD to address
cracking in the spar of the upper part of the vertical fin and
fractures in the front attachment screws. This condition could lead to
in-flight separation of the upper part of the vertical fin, resulting
in loss of control of the helicopter. See the MCAI for additional
background information.

Related IBR Material Under 1 CFR Part 51


EASA AD 2020-0186 describes procedures for, among other actions,
repetitive visual inspections of the right-hand side of the vertical
fin spar for cracking and corrective action. The corrective action
includes repair. EASA AD 2020-0186 also describes procedures for an
optional modification, which terminates the repetitive inspections.
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

These products have been approved by the aviation authority of
another country, and are approved for operation in the United States.
Pursuant to the FAA's bilateral agreement with the State of Design
Authority, the FAA has been notified of the unsafe condition described
in the MCAI referenced above. The FAA is issuing this AD after
evaluating all pertinent information and determining that the unsafe
condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of
these same type designs.

Requirements of This AD

This AD requires accomplishing the actions specified in EASA AD
2020-0186, 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 AD and
the MCAI.''

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 2020-0186
will be incorporated by reference in the FAA final rule. This AD would,
therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2020-0186 in its entirety,
through that incorporation, except for any differences identified as
exceptions in the regulatory text of this 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 2020-0186 that is
required for compliance with EASA AD 2020-0186 is available on the
internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating
Docket No. FAA-2021-0094.

Differences Between This AD and the MCAI


Paragraph (2) of EASA AD 2020-0186 specifies doing repetitive
cleaning and detailed inspections of the vertical fin spar and vertical
fin upper attachments. The actions specified in paragraph (2) of EASA
AD 2020-0186 are not required by this AD because the planned compliance
time for those actions would allow enough time to provide notice and
opportunity for prior public comment on the merits of those actions.
The FAA is considering additional rulemaking to address the actions
specified in paragraph (2) of EASA AD 2020-0186.

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 cracking in the spar of the upper part of the vertical fin and
fractures in the front attachment screws could lead to in-flight
separation of the upper part of the vertical fin, resulting in loss of
control of the helicopter. In addition, the initial inspection is
required within 55 hours time-in-service, a time period of less than 3
months based on the average flight-hour utilization rate of these
helicopters. 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, 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.

Comments Invited

The FAA invites you to send any written relevant data, views, or
arguments about this AD. Send your comments to an address listed under
ADDRESSES. Include ``Docket No. FAA-2021-0094; Project Identifier MCAI-
2021-00100-R'' at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful
comments reference a specific portion of the AD, 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
AD 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 AD.

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
Kathleen Arrigotti, Aviation Safety Engineer, Large Aircraft Section,
International Validation Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines,
WA 98198; phone and fax: 206-231-3218; email:
kathleen.arrigotti@faa.gov. Any commentary that the FAA receives that
is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket for this
rulemaking.

Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)


The requirements of the 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 650 helicopters of U.S.
registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this AD:

Estimated Costs for Required Actions

Labor cost
Parts cost
Cost per product
Cost on U.S. operators
7 work-hour x $85 per hour = $595
$0
$595
$386,750

Estimated Costs for Optional Actions

Labor cost
Parts cost
Cost per product
8 work-hours x $85 per hour = $680
$7,300
$7,980

The FAA estimates the following costs to do any necessary on-
condition action that would be required based on the results of any
required or optional actions. The FAA has no way of determining the
number of helicopters that might need this on-condition action:

On-Condition Costs

Action
Labor cost
Parts cost
Cost per product
Replacement 4 work-hours x $85 per hour = $340
$17,052
$17,392

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.

Regulatory Findings

The FAA determined that this AD would not have federalism
implications under Executive Order 13132. This 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 regulation:
(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
reference, Safety.

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
directive: