DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0873; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00336-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
2018-11-01, which applies to certain Airbus Helicopters Model AS332L2
and EC225LP helicopters. AD 2018-11-01 requires installing a cut-out
for the left-hand (LH) and right-hand (RH) rail support junction
profiles and repetitively inspecting splices, frame 5295, and related
equipment for a crack. Since the FAA issued AD 2018-11-01, the
manufacturer has developed a modification for in-service helicopters
for replacing aluminum splices with steel splices on frame 5295. This
proposed AD would retain the requirements of AD 2018-11-01 and require
a modification for replacing aluminum splices with steel splices on
frame 5295 if cracking is found. This proposed AD would also provide
terminating action for the repetitive inspections. 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 December
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 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.
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-2021-0873; 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 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-2021-0873; Project Identifier
MCAI-2021-00336-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
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
email@example.com. Any commentary that the FAA receives which is
not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket
for this rulemaking.
The FAA issued AD 2018-11-01, Amendment 39-19289 (83 FR 23778, May
23, 2018), (AD 2018-11-01), for Airbus Helicopters Model AS332L2 and
EC225LP helicopters with an extended aluminum splice installed on frame
5295, except helicopters with steel splice kit part number 332A08-2649-
3072 installed. AD 2018-11-01 requires installing a cut-out for the LH
and RH rail support junction profiles and repetitively inspecting
splices, frame 5295, and related equipment for a crack. AD 2018-11-01
was prompted by reports of cracks on frame 5295 and on splices
installed to prevent those cracks. The FAA issued AD 2018-11-01 to
address a crack in frame 5295, which if not detected and corrected,
could lead to loss of structural integrity of the helicopter frame and
subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
Actions Since AD 2018-11-01 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2018-11-01, EASA issued AD 2021-0075, dated
March 16, 2021 (EASA AD 2021-0075), which supersedes EASA Emergency AD
2014-0098-E, dated April 25, 2014 (EASA Emergency AD 2014-0098-E). EASA
advises that since EASA Emergency AD 2014-0098-E was issued, Airbus
Helicopters developed MOD 0728463, available for helicopters in service
through the applicable modification service bulletin, providing
instructions to replace aluminum splices with steel splices on frame
5295. Airbus Helicopters also issued the applicable inspection alert
service bulletins, as defined in EASA AD 2021-0075. Accordingly, EASA
AD 2021-0075 retains the requirements of EASA Emergency AD 2014-0098-E,
which is superseded, and requires a modification, replacing aluminum
splices with steel splices on helicopters on which any cracked aluminum
splice has been detected. EASA AD 2021-0075 also advises that the
modification is terminating action for the repetitive inspections.
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 designs.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed the following Airbus Helicopters service
Alert Service Bulletins Nos. AS332-05.00.97, Revision 1;
and EC225-05A038, Revision 1; both dated February 9, 2021; which
specify procedures for, among other actions, installing a cut-out for
the LH and RH rail support junction profiles and inspecting splices,
frame 5295, and related equipment for a crack. These documents are
distinct since they apply to different helicopter models.
Service Bulletins Nos. AS332-53.01.97, Revision 0; and
EC225-53-061, Revision 0; both dated February 9, 2021; which specify
procedures for modifying the helicopter by replacing the aluminum LH
and RH splices with steel splices under the plates and the brackets of
the main gear box (MGB) bars. The modification includes taking
reference readings of the brackets of the MGB bars, removing the MGB
brackets and plates, removing the aluminum splices and inspecting the
joggling areas for scratches or other damage, inspecting frame 5295 for
cracking (including a dye penetrant inspection if the inspection
results are not conclusive), identifying the current measurements
(values) of the rivet and attachment plate holes for installation of
the steel splice (including determining the values of the rivet holes
and attachment plate holes on frame 5295 with a calibrated pad and
determining the elongations of the holes and the lengths of the
straps), modifying the door hinge rail brackets on the LH and RH sides,
and installing the steel splices. These documents are distinct since
they apply to different helicopter models.
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.
Other Related Service Information
The FAA reviewed Eurocopter Helicopters (now Airbus Helicopters)
Service Bulletin No. 53-003, Revision 4, for Model EC225LP helicopters
and Service Bulletin No. 53.01.52, Revision 5, for Model AS332L2
helicopters, both dated July 23, 2010. The service bulletins specify
procedures to reinforce frame 5295 by installing a new titanium plate
underneath the fitting and a new widened aluminum splice below the
upper corner of the door.
The FAA also reviewed Airbus Helicopters Service Bulletin No. 05-
019, Revision 4, dated September 22, 2014, for Model EC225 LP
helicopters. This service information specifies procedures for cutting
out the junction profiles.
The FAA also reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletins
Nos. AS332-05.00.97, Revision 0; and EC225-05A038, Revision 0; both
dated April 15, 2014; which specify procedures for, among other
actions, installing a cut-out for the LH and RH rail support junction
profiles and inspecting splices, frame 5295, and related equipment for
Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM
This proposed AD would retain all requirements of AD 2018-11-01 and
require a modification for replacing aluminum splices with steel
splices on frame 5295. This proposed AD would also provide terminating
action for the repetitive inspections required by AD 2018-11-01. This
proposed AD would also require accomplishing the actions specified in
the service information already described, except as discussed under
``Differences Between this AD and the EASA AD.''
Redesignation of AD 2018-11-01 Paragraph Identifier
Since AD 2018-11-01 was issued, the AD format has been revised, and
certain paragraphs have been rearranged. As a result, the corresponding
paragraph identifiers have been redesignated in this proposed AD, as listed
the following table:
Revised Paragraph Identifier
|Requirement in AD 2018-11-01
||Corresponding requirement in this proposed AD
Differences Between This Proposed
AD and the EASA AD 2021-0075
EASA AD 2021-0075 requires contacting Airbus Helicopters for
approved repair instructions if any crack is found during an
inspection. This proposed AD would not require that action.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would
affect 38 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
|Retained installation of cut-outs on frame 5295 from AD 2018-11-01
||40 work-hours X $85 per hour = $3,400
|Retained inspection of frame 5295 from AD 2018-11-01
||2 work-hours X $85 per hour = $170, per inspection cycle
||$170, per inspection cycle
||$6,460, per inspection cycle
The FAA estimates the following costs
to do any necessary repairs
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 repairs:
Estimated Costs of On-Condition Actions
||Cost per product
||40 work-hours X $85 per hour = $3,400
|New proposed modification (replacement of aluminum splices with
||830 work-hours X $85 per hour = $70,550
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:
a. Removing Airworthiness Directive 2018-11-01, Amendment 39-19289 (83
FR 23778, May 23, 2018); and
b. Adding the following new airworthiness directive: