DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0380; Project Identifier MCAI-2020-01683-R]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD)
for certain Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Model EC135P1, EC135P2,
EC135P2+, EC135P3, EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, and EC135T3 helicopters.
This proposed AD was prompted by a report that geometrical non-
conformities were found in the root section of the tail rotor blade
(TRB). This proposed AD would require a one-time inspection
(dimensional check) of the TRB for conformity and, depending on the
findings, replacement of certain affected parts, as specified in a
European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is proposed for
incorporation by reference (IBR). This proposed AD would also prohibit
rework, repair, or modification of affected parts in the affected area
of the TRB assembly root. 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 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-2021-0380.
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-
0380; 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: Andrea Jimenez, Aerospace Engineer,
COS Program Management Section, Operational Safety Branch, Compliance &
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave., Mail Stop: Room 410,
Westbury, NY 11590; telephone (516) 228-7330; email
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-2021-0380.; Project
Identifier MCAI-2020-01683-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
Andrea Jimenez, Aerospace Engineer, COS Program Management Section,
Operational Safety Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA,
1600 Stewart Ave., Mail Stop: Room 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone
(516) 228-7330; 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 EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2020-0282, dated December 17, 2020
(EASA AD 2020-0282) (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing
Airworthiness Information, or the MCAI), to correct an unsafe condition
for Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH 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. Model EC635 P2+, EC635 P3, EC635 T1, EC635 T2+, and
EC635 T3 helicopters are not certificated by the FAA and are not
included on the U.S. type certificate data sheet, except where the U.S.
type certificate data sheet explains that the Model EC635T2+ helicopter
having serial number 0858 was converted from Model EC635T2+ to Model
EC135T2+. This proposed AD, therefore, does not include Model EC635
P2+, EC635 P3, EC635 T1, EC635 T2+, and EC635 T3 helicopters in the
Furthermore, although EASA AD 2020-0282 applies to all Model EC135
P1, EC135 P2, EC135 P2+, EC135 P3, EC135 T1, EC135 T2, EC135 T2+, EC135
T3 helicopters, this proposed AD would apply to helicopters with an
affected part installed instead.
This proposed AD was prompted by a report that during an
investigation related to an accident on an Airbus Helicopters Model
EC130B helicopter, geometrical non-conformities were observed in the
TRB root section. EASA issued AD 2020-0187, dated August 21, 2020, to
address this issue on Model EC130B and EC130T2 helicopters and the FAA
issued a corresponding proposed AD, Docket No. FAA-2021-0145, Project
Identifier MCAI-2020-01212-R (86 FR 14290, March 15, 2021). The Airbus
Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Model EC135P1, EC135P2, EC135P2+, EC135P3,
EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, and EC135T3 helicopters have a similar
design and production requirements to the affected Model EC 130B
helicopter, and an inspection of the affected parts has detected
geometrical non-conformities in some instances. The FAA is proposing
this AD to address geometrical non-conformities in the TRB root
section, which could lead to crack initiation and consequent blade
failure, resulting in loss of control of the helicopter. See the MCAI
for additional background information.
These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of
another country, and is 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 helicopters of these
same type designs.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2020-0282 requires a one-time inspection (dimensional
check) to verify TRB conformity, and, depending on findings,
replacement of each affected part classified as Category B (non-
compliant TRB assembly). EASA AD 2020-0282 also prohibits rework,
repair or modification of affected parts in the critical section
(affected area of the TRB assembly root).
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.
Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM
This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified
in EASA AD 2020-0282, described previously, as incorporated by
reference, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the
regulatory text of this proposed AD.
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 2020-0282
will be incorporated by reference in the FAA final rule. This proposed
AD would, therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2020-0282 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 2020-0282 that is required for compliance with EASA AD 2020-
0282 will be available on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov
by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0380 after the FAA
final rule is
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would
affect 341 helicopters of U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the
following costs to comply with this proposed AD:
Estimated Costs for Required Actions
COST ON U.S.
|4 work-hours x $85 per hour = $340
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
|10 work-hours x $85 per hour = $850
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 adding the following new airworthiness