DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0379; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00068-R]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD)
2016-12-51, which applies to all Airbus Helicopters Model AS332L2 and
Model EC225LP helicopters. AD 2016-12-51 prohibits all further flight
of Model AS332L2 and Model EC225LP helicopters. AD 2016-12-51 was
prompted by an accident in which the main rotor hub detached from the
main gearbox (MGB). Since the FAA issued AD 2016-12-51, the design
approval holder has developed procedures that address failure of the
main rotor system. This proposed AD would require replacing certain
second stage planet gear assemblies, removing certain epicyclic
modules, installing a full flow magnetic plug (FFMP), revising the
existing rotorcraft flight manual (RFM) for your helicopter,
repetitively inspecting the MGB particle detectors, repetitively
inspecting the MGB oil filter and oil cooler, and corrective action if
necessary, as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency
(EASA) AD, which is proposed for incorporation by reference (IBR). The
actions specified in the proposed AD would terminate the flight
prohibition. The FAA is proposing this AD to address the unsafe
condition on these products.
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by July 16, 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.
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 that is proposed for 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 IBR 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-2021-0379.
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-
0379; 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 NPRM, 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: Mahmood Shah, Aviation Safety
Engineer, Fort Worth ACO Branch, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth,
TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5538; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The FAA invites you to send any written relevant data, views, or
arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed
under ADDRESSES. Include "Docket No. FAA-2021-0379; Project Identifier
MCAI-2021-00068-R" at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful
comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, 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 proposal 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 proposal.
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 NPRM 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 NPRM, 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 NPRM. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to
Mahmood Shah, Aviation Safety Engineer, Fort Worth ACO Branch, FAA,
10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone 817-222-5538;
email email@example.com. Any commentary that the FAA receives that
is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public
docket for this rulemaking.
The FAA issued AD 2016-12-51, Amendment 39-18578 (81 FR 43479, July
5, 2016) (AD 2016-12-51), which applies to all Airbus Helicopters Model
AS332L2 and EC225LP helicopters. AD 2016-12-51 prohibits all further
flight of Airbus Helicopters Model AS332L
and EC225LP helicopters. The FAA issued AD 2016-12-51 to address an
accident involving an EC225LP helicopter in which the main rotor hub
detached from the MGB. The Airbus Helicopters Model AS332L2 helicopter
has a similar design to the affected Model EC225LP helicopter,
therefore, this model may be subject to the unsafe condition revealed
on the Model EC225LP helicopter.
Actions Since AD 2016-12-51 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2016-12-51, the design approval holder has
developed procedures that address failure of the main rotor system.
These procedures terminate the flight prohibition required by AD 2016-
12-51. In addition, after AD 2016-12-51 was issued, the FAA issued an
Alternate Means of Compliance (AMOC) letter dated September 7, 2017,
which addressed the flight prohibition required by paragraph (e) of AD
2016-12-51. The AMOC letter lifted the flight prohibition and allowed
operation of the affected helicopter models provided the conditions
specified in the AMOC letter were followed, which include repetitive
inspections that have no terminating action. This proposed AD includes
terminating action for certain repetitive inspections.
The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2017-0134R2, dated April 16, 2020
(EASA AD 2017-0134R2) (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing
Airworthiness Information, or the MCAI), to correct an unsafe condition
for all Airbus Helicopters Model AS332L2 and EC225LP helicopters.
This proposed AD was prompted by an accident involving a Model
EC225LP helicopter in which the main rotor hub detached from the MGB.
The FAA is proposing this AD to address failure of the main rotor
system, which would result in loss of control of the helicopter. See
the MCAI for additional background information.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2017-0134R2 references procedures for replacing certain
second stage planet gear assemblies with serviceable parts; removing
certain epicyclic modules from service; modifying the helicopter by
installing an FFMP; revising the RFM to prohibit MGB particle burning
in-flight; repetitively inspecting the FFMP and MGB particle detectors
for metal particles, analyzing any metal particles that are found, and
corrective action; and repetitively inspecting the MGB oil filter and
oil cooler for particles and corrective action. The corrective actions
include replacing an affected MGB with a serviceable MGB. EASA AD 2017-
0134R2 also provides terminating action for certain repetitive
Airbus Helicopters has issued Emergency Alert Service Bulletin
EC225 05A049, Revision 6, dated July 25, 2017; and Emergency Alert
Service Bulletin AS 332 05.01.07, Revision 6, dated July 27, 2017. The
service information specifies procedures for, among other things,
replacing the MGB.
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 and Requirements of This Proposed AD
These products have been approved by the aviation authority of
another country, and are approved for operation in the United States.
Pursuant to the 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 proposing this AD after evaluating all the
relevant information and determining the unsafe condition described
previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of these
same type designs.
Proposed AD Requirements
This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified
in EASA AD 2017-0134R2 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 Proposed 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 2017-
0134R2 will be incorporated by reference in the FAA final rule. This
proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2017-
0134R2 in its entirety, through that incorporation, except for any
differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of this
proposed 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 2017-0134R2 that is required for
compliance with EASA AD 2017-0134R2 will be available on the internet
at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No.
FAA-2021-0379 after the FAA final rule is published.
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the MCAI
Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2017-0134R2
specifies to return affected planetary gear assemblies to the
manufacturer for module overhaul, this proposed AD does not include
Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2017-0134R2
specifies that retrofit of the planet gear of the MGB can only be done
by Airbus Helicopters or Airbus Helicopters approved repair centers,
this proposed AD does not include that requirement.
EASA AD 2017-0134R2 requires operators to "inform all flight
crews" of revisions to the RFM, and thereafter to "operate the
helicopter accordingly." However, this AD would not specifically
require those actions.
FAA regulations require pilots to follow the procedures in the
existing RFM including all updates. 14 CFR 91.9 requires that no person
may operate a civil aircraft without complying with the operating
limitations specified in the RFM. Therefore, including a requirement in
this AD to operate the airplane according to the revised RFM would be
redundant and unnecessary. Further, compliance with such a requirement
in an AD would be impracticable to demonstrate or track on an ongoing
basis; therefore, a requirement to operate the airplane in such a
manner would be unenforceable.
The FAA considers this proposed AD interim action. If final action
is later identified, the FAA might consider further rulemaking then.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 28 helicopters of
U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with
this proposed AD:
Estimated Costs for Required Actions *
COST PER PRODUCT
COST ON U.S. OPERATORS
|New proposed actions
|| Up to 6 work- hours x $85 per hour = $510.
Up to $510
Up to $14,280.
* Table does not include estimated costs for reporting.
The FAA estimates that it would take about 1 work-hour per product
to comply with the proposed reporting requirement in this proposed AD.
The average labor rate is $85 per hour. Based on these figures, the FAA
estimates the cost of reporting the inspection results on U.S.
operators to be $2,380, or $85 per product.
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
|40 work-hours x $85 per hour = $3,400.
According to the manufacturer, some or all of the costs of this
proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost
impact on affected operators. The FAA does not control warranty
coverage for affected operators. As a result, the FAA has included all
known costs in the cost estimate.
Paperwork Reduction Act
A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not
required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to penalty for
failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of
information displays a current valid OMB control number. The control
number for the collection of information required by this proposed AD
is 2120-0056. The paperwork cost associated with this proposed AD has
been detailed in the Costs of Compliance section of this document and
includes time for reviewing instructions, as well as completing and
reviewing the collection of information. Therefore, all reporting
associated with this proposed AD is mandatory. Comments concerning the
accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should
be directed to Information Collection Clearance Officer, Federal
Aviation Administration, 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177-
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.
The FAA determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism
implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed 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 proposed regulation:
(1) Is not a "significant regulatory action" under Executive Order 12866,
(2) Would not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and
(3) Would 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
The Proposed Amendment
Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the
Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 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 2016-12-51, Amendment 39-18578 (81
FR 43479, July 5, 2016); and
b. Adding the following new airworthiness directive: