DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0539; Project Identifier 2018-SW-048-AD]
Airworthiness Directives; Bell Textron Canada Limited Helicopters
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive
for Bell Textron Canada Limited (Bell) Model 206, 206A, 206A-1 (OH-
58A), 206B, 206B-1, 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3, 206L-4, 222, 222B, 222U, 230,
407, 427, 429, and 430 helicopters. This proposed AD would require
removing each shoulder harness seat belt comfort clip (comfort clip)
from service, inspecting the shoulder harness seat belt for any rip or
abrasion, and removing any shoulder harness seat belt from service that
has a rip or abrasion. This proposed AD would also prohibit installing
any comfort clip on any helicopter. This proposed AD was prompted by a
report of a comfort clip interfering with the seat belt inertia reel.
The actions of this proposed AD are intended to address an unsafe
condition on these products.
DATES: The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by August
ADDRESSES: You may send comments by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow
online instructions for sending your comments electronically.
Fax: (202) 493-2251.
Mail: Send comments to the U.S. Department of
Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor,
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
Hand Delivery: Deliver to "Mail" address between 9 a.m.
and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
For service information identified in this proposed rule, contact
Bell Textron Canada Limited, 12,800 Rue de l'Avenir, Mirabel, Quebec
J7J1R4; telephone 1-450-437-2862 or 1-800-363-8023; fax 1-450-433-0272;
email firstname.lastname@example.org; or at https://www.bellflight.com/
support/contact-support. 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.
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-
0539; 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, the Transport Canada AD, any comments received, and other
information. The street address for Docket Operations is listed above.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steven Warwick, Aerospace Engineer,
Certification Section, Fort Worth ACO Branch, Compliance &
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX
76177; telephone (817) 222-5225; email Steven.R.Warwick@faa.gov.
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-2021-0539; Project Identifier
2018-SW-048-AD" 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 NPRM.
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
Steven Warwick, Aerospace Engineer, Certification Section, Fort Worth
ACO Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 10101 Hillwood
Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5225; email
Steven.R.Warwick@faa.gov. Any commentary that the FAA receives which is
not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket
for this rulemaking.
Transport Canada, which is the aviation authority for Canada, has
issued Canadian AD CF-2018-16, dated June 14, 2018 (Transport Canada AD
CF-2018-16), to correct an unsafe condition for all serial-numbered
Bell Model 206, 206A, 206A-1, 206B, 206B-1, 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3, 206L-
4, 222, 222B, 222U, 230, 407, 427, 429 and 430 helicopters. Transport
Canada advises that Bell delivered comfort clips with some helicopters,
and that these comfort clips, which were also sold as spare parts or
accessories, were intended to improve occupant comfort by reducing
shoulder harness tension. However, Transport Canada advises the comfort
clip may interfere with the shoulder harness inertia reel, preventing
the harness from locking and resulting in injury to the occupant during
an emergency landing. To prevent this unsafe condition, Transport
Canada AD CF-2018-16 requires, within 25 hours air time or 10 days,
whichever occurs first, determining if the comfort clips are installed.
If the comfort clips are installed, Transport Canada AD CF-2018-16
requires removing them from service within 100 hours air time or 30
days, whichever occurs first, and inspecting each shoulder harness seat
belt for damage and replacing any shoulder harness seat belt that has
damage that exceeds allowable limits before further flight. Transport
Canada AD CF-2018-16 also prohibits the installation of any comfort
clip on any helicopter.
These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of
Canada and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to
the FAA's bilateral agreement with Canada, Transport Canada, its
technical representative, has notified the FAA of the unsafe condition
described in its AD. The FAA is proposing this AD after evaluating all
known relevant information and determining that an unsafe condition is
likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of the same type
Related Service Information
The FAA reviewed the following Bell Helicopter Alert Service
Bulletins (ASBs), each dated January 11, 2016:
ASB 222-15-112 for Bell Model 222, 222B, and 222U
helicopters with serial numbers (S/N) 47006 through 47089, 47131
through 47156, and 47501 through 47574 (ASB 222-15-112);
ASB 230-15-46 for Bell Model 230 helicopters with S/N
23001 through 23038;
ASB 407-15-111 for Model 407 helicopters with S/N 53000
through 53900, 53911 through 54166, and 54300 through 54599;
ASB 427-15-39 for Model 427 helicopters with S/N 56001
through 56084, 58001 and 58002 (ASB 427-15-39);
ASB 429-15-27 for Model 429 helicopters with S/N 57001
through 57259 (ASB 429-15-27); and
ASB 430-15-56 for Model 430 helicopters with S/N 49001
The FAA also reviewed the following Bell Helicopter ASBs, both
Revision A and both dated February 5, 2016:
ASB 206-15-133 for Model 206A/B and TH-67 helicopters with
S/N 4 through 4690 and 5101 through 5313 (ASB 206-15-133); and
ASB 206L-15-175 for Model 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3, and 206L-4
helicopters with S/N 45001 through 45153, 46601 through 46617, 45154
through 45790, 51001 through 51612, and 52001 through 52455 (ASB 206L-
All of the ASBs specify removing all variants of comforts clips
from all seat belt assemblies. ASB 222-15-112, ASB 427-15-39, and ASB
429-15-27 also specify that although the helicopter models to which
these ASBs apply were not affected by the original design at the time
of certification and delivery of the helicopter, the affected parts may
have been installed post-delivery to end owners/operators of those
ASB 206-15-133 and ASB 206L-15-175 also specify that helicopters
that have been modified per Supplemental Type Certificate (STC)
SH2073SO (installation of shoulder harness restraint system) are
affected and therefore included in the ASB applicability.
ASB 206L-15-175 also specifies that helicopters that have been
modified per STC SH2751SO (installation of a passenger shoulder harness
restraint system) are affected and therefore included in the ASB
Proposed AD Requirements
This proposed AD would require, within 25 hours time-in-service
(TIS) after the effective date of this AD, removing from service each
comfort clip and inspecting each shoulder harness seat belt for a rip
and abrasion. If there is a rip or abrasion, this proposed AD would
require removing the shoulder harness seat belt from service before
further flight. This proposed AD would also prohibit installing a
comfort clip on any helicopter as of the effective date of the proposed
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the Transport Canada AD
This proposed AD would require removing the comfort clip and
inspecting the shoulder harness seat belt within 25 hours TIS;
Transport Canada AD CF-2018-16 requires inspecting for the presence of
a comfort clip at 25 hours air time, or 10 days, whichever occurs
first, and then requires removing the comfort clip, if installed.
Transport Canada AD CF-2018-16 requires inspecting the shoulder harness
seat belt for any damage that exceeds allowable limits within 100 hours
air time or 30 days, whichever occurs first, whereas this proposed AD
would require the inspection within 25 hours TIS and removing any
shoulder harness seat belt from service before further flight if there
is any rip or abrasion.
Transport Canada AD CF-2018-16 applies to all serial-numbered Model
206, 206A, 206A-1, 206B, 206B-1, 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3, 206L-4, 222,
222B, 222U, 230, 407, 427, 429 and 430 helicopters, whereas this
proposed AD would apply to Model 206, 206A, 206A-1, 206B, 206B-1, 206L,
206L-1, 206L-3, 206L-4, 222, 222B, 222U, 230, 407, 427, 429 and 430
helicopters with a comfort clip installed or helicopters that have been
modified per Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) SH2073SO (installation
of shoulder harness restraint system) or STC SH2751SO (installation of
a passenger shoulder harness restraint system).
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD would affect 2,347
helicopters of U.S. Registry. The FAA estimates that operators may
incur the following costs in order to comply with this proposed AD.
Labor costs are estimated at $85 per work-hour.
Removing each comfort clip would take about 0.5 work-hour for an
estimated cost of $43 per clip and up to $807,368 for the U.S. fleet.
Replacing a shoulder harness seat belt, if required, would take
about 1 work-hour and parts would cost about $250 per shoulder harness
seat belt, for an estimated cost of $335 per replacement.
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, I certify this proposed regulation:
1. Is not a "significant regulatory action" under Executive Order
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