DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0826; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00300-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 EC135P2+,
EC135P3, EC135T2+, and EC135T3 helicopters. This proposed AD was
prompted by reports that certain aft and forward fitting assemblies,
which are not approved for installation on certain helicopters, were
installed on those helicopters as part of the outboard load system.
Operators of those helicopters might not be aware of the applicable
overhaul or life limits for those fitting assemblies. This proposed AD
would require inspecting the aft and forward fitting assemblies of the
outboard load system to determine the part number, re-identifying the
part if necessary, inspecting each affected part for damage (which may
be indicated by signs of corrosion, mechanical damage, loose rivets, or
cracks) and, depending on the findings, corrective actions, as
specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which
is proposed for incorporation by reference (IBR). 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 above between 9
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
For EASA material that is proposed for IBR in this AD, contact
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. The EASA material is also
available at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating
Docket No. FAA-2021-0826.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0826; 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 EASA AD,
any comments received, and other information. The street address for
Docket Operations is listed above.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Darren Gassetto, Aerospace Engineer,
COS Program Management Section, Operational Safety Branch, Compliance
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY
11590; telephone (516) 228-7323; email Darren.Gassetto@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-2021-0826; Project Identifier
MCAI-2021-00300-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
Darren Gassetto, Aerospace Engineer, COS Program Management Section,
Operational Safety Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA,
1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone (516) 228-
7323; email Darren.Gassetto@faa.gov. Any commentary that the FAA
receives that 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 2021-0066, dated March 8, 2021 (EASA
AD 2021-0066), to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters
Deutschland GmbH (formerly Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH and Eurocopter
Espa[ntilde]a S.A.) Model EC135 P2+, EC135 P3, EC135 T2+, EC135 T3,
EC635 P2+, EC635 P3, EC635 T1, EC635 T2+, and EC635 T3 helicopters,
serial numbers (S/Ns) 0866 to 1166 inclusive, except S/Ns 1007, 1102,
and 1145, and except helicopters on which Airbus Helicopters Service
Bulletin EC135-85-063 has been embodied in service. 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 applicability.
This proposed AD was prompted by reports that aft and forward
fitting assemblies, having part number L851M2810103, were installed as
part of the outboard load system on helicopters having S/Ns 0886 and
up. The affected fitting assemblies are not approved for installation
on helicopters having those serial numbers. Operators of those
helicopters might not be aware of the applicable overhaul or life
limits for those fitting assemblies. The FAA is proposing this AD to
address failure of affected aft and forward fitting assemblies and
consequent loss of external cargo, resulting in personal injury or
injury to persons on the ground. See EASA AD 2021-0066 for additional
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2021-0066 requires a one-time inspection of each aft and
forward fitting assembly of the outboard load system to identify the
part number, re-identifying the part number if necessary, a one-time
inspection of an affected fitting assembly for damage, and corrective
action. The corrective action includes replacing any damaged fitting.
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.
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 the same type design.
Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM
This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified
in EASA AD 2021-0066, 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 developed a process to use some civil aviation
authority (CAA) ADs as the primary source of information for compliance
with requirements for corresponding FAA ADs. The FAA has been
coordinating this process with manufacturers and CAAs. As a result, the
FAA proposes to incorporate EASA AD 2021-0066 by reference in the FAA
final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with
EASA AD 2021-0066 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 EASA AD 2021-0066 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 EASA AD 2021-
0066. Service information required by EASA AD 2021-0066 for compliance
will be available at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and
locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0826 after the FAA final rule is
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would
affect 69 helicopters of U.S. Registry. The FAA estimates the following
costs to comply with this proposed AD.
||Cost per product
||Cost on U.S. operators
|Inspection to determine fitting
assembly part number
||0.50 work-hour x $85 per hour
The FAA estimates the following costs
to do any necessary actions
that would be required based on the results of the proposed inspection.
The agency has no way of determining the number of aircraft that might
need these actions:
||Cost per product
|Re-identification of affected
fitting assembly with part number
||0.25 work-hour x $85 per hour
|Detailed inspection of affected
||1.75 work-hours x $85 per hour
|Replacement of damaged affected
||1.50 work-hours x $85 per hour
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
(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