DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-1132; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-01386-R;
Amendment 39-21452; AD 2021-05-09]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The FAA is superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2018-15-
02, which applied to certain Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350B1,
AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350BA, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N,
and AS355NP helicopters. AD 2018-15-02 required repetitively inspecting
the tail rotor (TR) pitch rod for a damaged elastomeric ball joint, and
corrective action if necessary. This AD continues to require the
repetitive inspections and allows the repetitive inspection interval to
be extended under certain conditions, as specified in a European Union
Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is incorporated by reference.
This AD was prompted by a report of several cases of damaged TR pitch
rod ball joints. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe
condition on these products.
DATES: This AD is effective April 16, 2021.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of April 16,
ADDRESSES: For material incorporated by reference (IBR) in this
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.
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-
1132; 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, any comments received, and other information. The
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 20590.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Katherine Venegas, Aviation Safety
Engineer, Cabin Safety, Mechanical and Environmental Systems Section,
Los Angeles ACO Branch, FAA, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA
90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5353; fax: 562-627-5210; email:
The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2017-0020R1, dated May 22, 2019
(EASA AD 2017-0020R1) (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing
Airworthiness Information, or the MCAI), to correct an unsafe condition
for certain Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350BB, AS350B1,
AS350B2, AS350B3, AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N and AS355NP
helicopters. Model AS350BB helicopters are not certificated by the FAA
and are not included on the U.S. type certificate data sheet; this AD
therefore does not include those helicopters in the applicability.
The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14
CFR part 39 to supersede AD 2018-15-02, Amendment 39-19334 (83 FR
34029, July 19, 2018) (AD 2018-15-02). AD 2018-15-02 applied to certain
Airbus Helicopters Model AS350B, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350BA,
AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters. The
NPRM published in the Federal Register on December 16, 2020 (85 FR
81427). The NPRM was prompted by a report of several cases of damaged
TR pitch rod ball joints. The NPRM proposed to continue to require the
repetitive inspections of the TR pitch rod for a damaged elastomeric
ball joint, as specified in an EASA AD. The NPRM also proposed to allow
the repetitive inspection intervals specified in AD 2018-15-02 to be
extended to correspond with the intervals for the inspection of the TR
pitch rod specified in the airworthiness limitation section of the
applicable helicopter maintenance manual, as specified in an EASA AD.
The FAA is issuing this AD to address damage to the elastomeric ball
joint on the TR pitch change rod. This condition could result in
failure of the TR pitch change rod and subsequent loss of control of
The FAA gave the public the opportunity to participate in
developing this final rule. The FAA received no comments on the NPRM or
on the determination of the cost to the public.
The FAA reviewed the relevant data and determined that air safety
and the public interest require adopting this final rule as proposed,
except for minor editorial changes. The FAA has determined that these
Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the
NPRM for addressing the unsafe condition; and
Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was
already proposed in the NPRM.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2017-0020R1 describes procedures for repetitively
inspecting the TR pitch rod for a damaged (debonding, extrusion, or
cracking) elastomeric ball joint and corrective action. The corrective
action includes replacing an affected TR pitch rod with a serviceable
TR pitch rod. 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.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 955 helicopters of U.S.
registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this AD:
Estimated Costs for Required Actions
||Cost per product
||Cost on U.S.
|Retained actions from AD 2018-15-02
||0.5 work-hour x $85 per hour
This new AD adds no new costs to
The FAA estimates the following costs to do any necessary on-
condition actions that would be required based on the results of any
required actions. The FAA has no way of determining the number of
helicopters that might need these on-condition actions:
Estimated Costs of On-Condition Actions
||Cost per product
|1 work-hour x $85 per hour =
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 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:
a. removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2018-15-02, Amendment 39-19334
(83 FR 34029, July 19, 2018); and
b. adding the following new AD: