DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0797; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00218-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
for certain Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Model EC135P1, EC135P2,
EC135P2+, EC135P3, EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, and EC135T3 helicopters.
This proposed AD was prompted by reduced life limits being established
for certain part-numbered tail rotor (TR) blades. This proposed AD
would require determining the total hours time-in-service (TIS) of
certain part-numbered TR blades, establishing a life limit for certain
part-numbered TR blades, removing from service any TR blade that has
reached or exceeded its life limit, creating a component history card,
re-identifying certain part-numbered TR blades, and removing any TR
blade from service before reaching its retirement life. This proposed
AD would also prohibit installing certain TR blades on certain model
helicopters. 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 November
ADDRESSES: You may send comments, using the procedures found in
11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow
instructions for submitting comments.
Fax: (202) 493-2251.
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 between 9 a.m. and
5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
For service information identified in this NPRM, contact Airbus
Helicopters, 2701 North Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75052; telephone
(972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323; fax (972) 641-3775; or at https://www.
airbus.com/helicopters/services/technical-support.html. You may
view this service information 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.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0797 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 European
Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, any comments received, and
other information. The street address for Docket Operations is listed
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Andrea Jimenez, Aerospace Engineer,
COS Program Management Section, Operational Safety Branch, Compliance
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY
11590; telephone (516) 228-7330; email email@example.com.
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-2021-0797; Project Identifier
MCAI-2021-00218-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 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
Andrea Jimenez, Aerospace Engineer, COS Program Management Section,
Operational Safety Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA,
1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone (516) 228-
7330; email firstname.lastname@example.org. Any commentary that the FAA
receives which is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in
the public docket for this rulemaking.
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2021-0050, dated February 23, 2021
(EASA AD 2021-0050), to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus
Helicopters Deutschland GmbH (AHD), formerly Eurocopter Deutschland
GmbH, 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,
and all serial numbers. EASA advises that a reduced life limit has been
established for certain part-numbered TR blades due to higher loads
experienced in service. This condition, if not addressed, could result
in fatigue and failure of a TR blade and loss of control of the
Accordingly, EASA AD 2021-0050 requires determining the total hours
TIS for certain part-numbered TR blades, recalculating the TIS for
affected parts, and implementing a reduced life limit. EASA AD 2021-
0050 also prohibits installing certain part-numbered TR blades and TR
head assemblies and provides conditions for re-installation of certain
These helicopters have been approved by EASA and are approved for
operation in the United States. Pursuant to the FAA's bilateral
agreement with the European Union, EASA has notified the FAA about the
unsafe condition described in its AD. The FAA is proposing this AD
after evaluating all known relevant information and determining that
the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop
on other helicopters of these same type designs.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin ASB
EC135H-04A-002 and Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin ASB EC135-
04A-014, both Revision 1, and both dated December 21, 2020. This
service information specifies procedures to determine the total hours
TIS of certain TR blades and provides instructions to re-identify
certain part-numbered TR blades.
This service information 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 within 350 hours time-in-service
(TIS), determining the total hours TIS of certain part-numbered TR
blades and removing from service certain part-numbered TR blades that
have accumulated or exceeded 6,800 total hours TIS. This proposed AD
would also require for certain part-numbered TR blades with less than
6,800 total hours TIS, creating a component history card or equivalent
record to establish a life limit of 6,800 total hours TIS, and removing
these TR blades from service before accumulating 6,800 total hours TIS.
This proposed AD would require for certain model helicopters re-
identifying certain part-numbered TR blades with new part numbers and
removing those newly re-identified TR blades from service before
exceeding 6,800 total hours TIS.
This proposed AD would also require for certain model helicopters
with certain part-numbered TR blades installed that have been
previously installed on certain model helicopters determining the total
hours TIS of the TR blade in accordance with a method approved by the
FAA or EASA. Finally, for certain model helicopters this proposed AD
would prohibit installing certain part-numbered TR blades and for
certain model helicopters this proposed AD would prohibit installing
certain part-numbered TR blades that have exceeded or accumulated 500
total hours TIS while previously installed on certain model
Differences Between This Proposed AD and EASA AD 2021-0050
EASA AD 2021-0050 requires compliance using calendar time, whereas
this proposed AD would require compliance using hours TIS instead. EASA
AD 2021-0050 applies to Model EC635 P2+, EC635 P3, EC635 T1, EC635 T2+,
and EC635 T3 helicopters, which 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 EC635 T2+
helicopter having serial number 0858 was converted from Model EC635 T2+
to Model EC135 T2+. This proposed AD, therefore, does not include Model
EC635 P2+, EC635 P3, EC635 T1, EC635 T2+, and EC635 T3 helicopters in
the applicability. EASA AD 2021-0050 specifies contacting Airbus
Helicopters Deutschland GmbH to determine the total hours TIS
accumulated by certain TR blades whereas this proposed AD would require
determining the total hours TIS accumulated by the TR blade in
accordance with a method approved by the FAA or EASA. EASA AD 2021-0050
prohibits installing certain part-numbered TR head assemblies as
defined in its AD, whereas this AD would not contain this prohibition.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would
affect 341 helicopters of U.S. Registry. Labor rates are estimated at
$85 per work-hour. Based on these numbers, the FAA estimates the
following costs to comply with this proposed AD.
Determining the total hours TIS of each TR blade, updating the
helicopter records and re-identifying each TR blade would take about 10
work-hours for each TR blade, for an estimated cost of $850 per TR
Replacing each TR blade would take about 10 work-hours and parts
would cost about $4,400 for an estimated cost of $5,250 per TR blade
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
(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