DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-0916; Product Identifier 2015-SW-055-AD; Amendment
39-21449; AD 2021-05-06]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD)
Airbus Helicopters Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, AS332L1, AS332L2, EC
155B, EC155B1, EC225LP, and SA330J helicopters. This AD requires
inspecting the snap fasteners on the windows. This AD was prompted by
incidents of difficulty unbuttoning the extraction tape on the windows.
The actions of this AD are intended to address an unsafe condition on
DATES: This AD is effective April 19, 2021.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of certain documents listed in this AD as of April 19, 2021.
ADDRESSES: 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.
You may 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-2020-0916.
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-2020-
0916; 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 Aviation Safety Agency (now European Union
Aviation Safety Agency) (EASA) ADs, any service information that is
incorporated by reference, any comments received, and other
information. The street address for Docket Operations is U.S.
Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building
Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Hatfield, Aerospace Engineer,
Aircraft Systems Section, Technical Innovation Policy Branch, Policy &
Innovation Division, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177;
telephone (817) 222-5110; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14
CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to Airbus Helicopters
Model AS332C, AS332C1, AS332L, AS332L1, AS332L2, EC 155B, EC155B1,
EC225LP, and SA330J helicopters with window extraction tape with snap
fasteners installed. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on
October 22, 2020 (85 FR 67313). The NPRM proposed to require inspecting
each internal and external snap fastener to determine whether they
unbutton by hand. For external snap fasteners that do not unbutton by
hand, the NPRM proposed to require replacing the male part of the snap
fastener and installing self-gripping tape if it still does not
unbutton by hand. Thereafter, the NPRM proposed to require a repetitive
inspection of the external extraction tape and self-gripping tape and
replacing any tape that is cracked, torn, disintegrated, worn, or
missing, and replacing the snap fasteners. For internal snap fasteners
that do not unbutton by hand, the NPRM proposed to require installing
self-gripping tape and replacing the snap fasteners. The proposed
requirements were intended to prevent failure of a window to jettison,
preventing occupants from exiting the helicopter during an emergency.
The NPRM was prompted by EASA AD No. 2015-0149, dated July 23, 2015
(EASA AD 2015-0149), to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus
Helicopters Model AS 322 and EC 225 LP helicopters; EASA AD No. 2015-
0168, dated August 13, 2015 (EASA AD 2015-0168), to correct an unsafe
condition for Airbus Helicopters Model EC 155 B and EC 155 B1
helicopters; and EASA AD No. 2015-0169, dated August 13, 2015 (EASA AD
2015-0169), to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters Model
SA330 J helicopters, equipped with an extraction tape fitted with
``press-studs'' (snap fasteners) on the windows. Each EASA AD was
issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of
the European Union. EASA advises of difficulty unbuttoning the
extraction tape during the manufacturing of a helicopter. Investigation
concluded that the difficulty was caused by a bad male/female coupling,
possibly resulting from miscrimping. This difficulty is known to have
occurred on two additional helicopters. EASA states this condition, if
not detected and corrected, could prevent the jettisoning of the
helicopter window, possibly affecting the evacuation of passengers
during an emergency situation. For these reasons, EASA AD 2015-0149,
EASA AD 2015-0168, and EASA AD 2015-0169 require inspecting each press-
stud located on the extraction tapes of the window jettisoning system
and depending on the findings, installing self-gripping tape and
replacing the press-studs.
The FAA gave the public the opportunity to participate in
developing this final rule, but the FAA did not receive any comments on
the NPRM or on the determination of the cost to the public.
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 of the information provided by EASA and determining the
unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other
helicopters of these same type designs and that air safety and the
public interest require adopting the AD requirements as proposed.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin (ASB)
No. AS332-56.00.10, Revision 0, dated July 16, 2015, for Model AS332-
series helicopters; ASB No. EC155-56A006, Revision 0, dated August 10,
2015, for Model EC155-series helicopters; ASB No. EC225-56A008,
Revision 0, dated July 16, 2015, for Model EC225LP helicopters; and ASB
No. SA330-56.02, Revision 0, dated August 10, 2015, for Model SA330J
helicopters. This service information specifies procedures to inspect
the internal and external press-studs and to install self-gripping tape
for press-studs that do not unbutton or are difficult to unbutton. This
service information also specifies procedures to replace internal
press-studs that are difficult to unbutton and a repetitive inspection
for affected external press-studs until they are replaced.
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.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 72 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 AD.
Inspecting the snap fasteners takes about 1 work-hour for a cost of
$85 per helicopter and $6,120 for the U.S. fleet. Installing self-
gripping tape takes about 0.3 work-hour and parts cost $200 for a cost
of $226 per window. Inspecting the tape takes about 0.3 work-hour for
cost of $26 per window per inspection cycle. Replacing the extraction
tape or self-gripping tape takes about 1 work-hour and parts cost $200
for a total of $285 per window. Replacing a snap fastener takes about
work-hour and parts cost $200 for a total of $285 per snap fastener.
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 helicopters 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 above, I certify that this AD:
(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
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