DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2020-1173; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-00299-R;
Amendment 39-21489; AD 2021-07-12]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD)
Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Model EC135P1, EC135P2, EC135P2+,
EC135P3, EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, and EC135T3 helicopters. This AD
was prompted by a reassessment of the flight control system. This AD
requires modification of the cyclic stick, as specified in a European
Aviation Safety Agency (now 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 is effective May 11, 2021.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain document listed in this AD as of May 11, 2021.
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. FAA-2020-1173.
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-
1173; 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: Kristi Bradley, Aviation Safety
Engineer, General Aviation & Rotorcraft Section, International
Validation Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177;
telephone 817-222-5110; email email@example.com.
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2018-0063, dated March 22, 2018
(EASA AD 2018-0063) (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing
Airworthiness Information, or the MCAI), to correct an unsafe condition
for Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH (AHD) formerly Eurocopter
Deutschland GmbH (ECD), Eurocopter Espa[ntilde]a S.A, Model EC135 P1,
EC135 P2, EC135 P2+, EC135 P3, EC135 T1, EC135 T2, EC135 T2+, EC135 T3,
EC635 P2+, EC635 P3, EC635 T1, EC635 T2+ and EC635 T3 helicopters, all
variants, all serial numbers (S/Ns) up to 1263 inclusive and S/N 1265,
if equipped with autopilot, and S/N 2001 up to 2024 inclusive, except
S/N 2006, 2008, 2013, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2022.
The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14
CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain Model EC135P1,
EC135P2, EC135P2+, EC135P3, EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, and EC135T3
helicopters. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on January 19,
2021 (86 FR 5040). The NPRM was prompted by a reassessment of the
flight control system, which revealed that uncommanded disengagement of
the main rotor trim actuators during flight with the autopilot engaged
and hands-off controls could result in high roll and pitch rates, which
would require pilot intervention within a reaction time below that
required by current airworthiness standards. The NPRM proposed to
require installing a cyclic stick weight compensation modification to
correct this unsafe condition, which if not corrected may lead to
subsequent loss of control of the helicopter, as specified in an EASA
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.
The FAA also determined that these changes will not increase the
economic burden on any operator or increase the scope of this final
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2018-0063 describes procedures for modifying the helicopter
by retrofitting the cyclic stick weight compensation.
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.
Differences Between This AD and the MCAI
The EASA AD applies to certain serial-numbered EC635-series
helicopters with an autopilot installed, whereas this AD does not apply
to the Model EC635-series helicopters because these models are not FAA
type-certificated. The EASA AD requires a calendar compliance time,
whereas this AD requires using hours time-in-service.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 331 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.
Modifying the cyclic stick weight compensator takes about 8 work-
hours and parts cost about $1,300 for an estimated cost of about $1,980
per modification and $655,380 for the U.S. fleet.
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 adding the following new airworthiness