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PROPOSED AD AIRBUS HELICOPTERS: Docket No. FAA-2021-0886; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00341-R.
(a) COMMENTS DUE DATE

    The FAA must receive comments on this airworthiness directive (AD)  by
    December 13, 2021.

(b) AFFECTED ADS

    None.

(c) APPLICABILITY

    This AD applies to all Airbus Helicopters EC120B helicopters, certifi-
    cated in any category.

(d) SUBJECT

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6410, Tail Rotor Blades.

(e) UNSAFE CONDITION

    This AD was  prompted by a  report of geometrical  non-conformities in
    the tail rotor blade (TRB) root section discovered during an  accident
    investigation of a Model EC130B  helicopter. Due to the similarity  of
    design and production requirements, certain TRBs for the Model  EC120B
    helicopters were inspected and geometrical non-conformities were  also
    found. The FAA  is issuing this  AD to detect  and correct geometrical
    non-conformities of the TRB root section. The unsafe condition, if not
    addressed,  could  result in  crack  initiation and  TRB  failure, and
    possibly result in loss of control of the helicopter.

(f) COMPLIANCE

    Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified,  unless al-
    ready done.

(g) REQUIREMENTS

    Except as specified  in paragraph (h) of this AD:  Comply with all re-
    quired actions and compliance times specified in,  and  in  accordance
    with, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2021-0079, dated
    March 17, 2021 (EASA AD 2021-0079).

(h) EXCEPTIONS TO EASA AD 2021-0079

(1) Where EASA AD 2021-0079 requires compliance  in terms of flight hours,
    this AD requires using hours time-in-service.

(2) Where EASA AD 2021-0079 refers to its effective date, this AD requires
    using the effective date of this AD.

(3) Where the service information  referenced  in EASA AD 2021-0079 speci-
    fies discarding a part, this AD requires removing that part from serv-
    ice.

(4) This AD does not mandate compliance with the "Remarks" section of EASA
    AD 2021-0079.

(5) Where the service information  referenced  in EASA AD 2021-0079 speci-
    fies  to  measure  using the  Smartphone  application,  the PowerPoint
    method, or  "Contacting customer  support with  a specific procedure,"
    this  AD  requires  determining the  specified measurements  but those
    methods of measurement are not required by this AD.

(i) NO REPORTING REQUIREMENT

    Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2021-0079 spec-
    ifies to submit certain information to the manufacturer,  this AD does
    not include that requirement.

(j) SPECIAL FLIGHT PERMIT

    Special flight permits may be issued  in accordance with 14 CFR 21.197
    and 21.199 to operate the helicopter  to a location  where the actions
    of this AD can be performed, provided no passengers are onboard.

(k) ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF COMPLIANCE (AMOCS)

(1) The Manager, International Validation Branch,  FAA,  has the authority
    to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures  found
    in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to
    your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as
    appropriate. If  sending information  directly to  the manager  of the
    International  Validation  Branch, send  it  to the  attention  of the
    person identified in paragraph (l)(2)  of this AD. Information may  be
    emailed to: 9-AVS-AIR-730-AMOC@faa.gov.

(2) Before using any approved AMOC,  notify your appropriate principal in-
    spector,  or  lacking a principal inspector,  the manager of the local
    flight standards district office/certificate holding district office.

(l) RELATED INFORMATION

(1) For EASA AD 2021-0079,  contact  EASA,  Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3,  50668
    Cologne, Germany;  phone: +49 221 8999 000; email: ADs@easa.europa.eu;
    internet:  www.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. This material may be
    found in the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for
    and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0886.

(2) For more information about this AD,  contact Andrea Jimenez, Aerospace
    Engineer,  COS Program Management Section,  Operational Safety Branch,
    Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave, Suite 410,
    Westbury, NY 11590;  phone: (516) 228-7330; email: andrea.jimenez@faa.
    gov.

Issued on October 19, 2021. Lance T Gant, Director, Compliance & Airworth-
iness Division, Aircraft Certification Service.

DATES: The FAA must receive comments  on this proposed AD  by December 13,
2021.
PREAMBLE 

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 39

[Docket No. FAA-2021-0886; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00341-R]
RIN 2120-AA64

Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD)
for all Airbus Helicopters EC120B helicopters. This proposed AD was
prompted by a report of geometrical non-conformities in the tail rotor
blade (TRB) root section discovered during an accident investigation of
a Model EC130B helicopter. Due to the similarity of design and
production requirements, certain TRBs for the Model EC120B helicopters
were inspected and geometrical non-conformities were also found. This
proposed AD would require an inspection (dimensional check) to verify
conformity, and replacement of certain TRBs if necessary, 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 December
13, 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.
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; phone: +49 221
8999 000; email: ADs@easa.europa.eu; internet: www.easa.europa.eu. You
may find the EASA 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. This material is also
available at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating
Docket No. FAA-2021-0886.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0886; 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: Andrea Jimenez, Aerospace Engineer,
COS Program Management Section, Operational Safety Branch, Compliance &
Airworthiness Division, FAA, 1600 Stewart Ave., Suite 410, Westbury, NY
11590; phone: (516) 228-7330; email: andrea.jimenez@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

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-2021-0886; Project Identifier
MCAI-2021-00341-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; phone: (516) 228-
7330; email: andrea.jimenez@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.

Background

The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2021-0079, dated March 17, 2021
(EASA AD 2021-0079), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus
Helicopters EC120B helicopters.
This proposed AD was prompted by a report of geometrical non-
conformities in the TRB root section discovered during an accident
investigation of a Model EC130B helicopter. Due to the similarity of
design and production requirements, certain TRBs for the Model EC120B
helicopters were inspected and geometrical non-conformities were also
found. The FAA is proposing this AD to address geometrical non-
conformities of the TRB root section which, if not addressed, could
result in crack initiation and TRB failure, and possibly result in loss
of control of the helicopter. See EASA AD 2021-0079 for additional
background information.

Other Related Rulemaking

EASA issued EASA AD 2020-0282, dated December 17, 2020, address
this issue on 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, and the FAA issued corresponding AD
2021-16-10, Amendment 39-21672 (86 FR 50242, September 8, 2021).
EASA issued EASA AD 2020-0187, dated August 21, 2020, to address
this issue on Model EC130B4 and EC130T2 helicopters, and the FAA issued
corresponding AD 2021-10-25, Amendment 39-21558 (86 FR 29176, June 1,
2021).

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

EASA AD 2021-0079 requires an inspection (dimensional check) to
verify TRB conformity, and replacement of certain TRBs if necessary.
EASA AD 2021-0079 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.

FAA's Determination

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 2021-0079, 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 2021-0079 by reference in the FAA
final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with
EASA AD 2021-0079 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 2021-0079 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-
0079. Service information referenced in EASA AD 2021-0079 for
compliance will be available at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0886 after the FAA final
rule is published.

Costs of Compliance

The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would
affect 89 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.

Estimated Costs

Action
Labor cost
Parts cost
Cost per product
Cost on U.S. operators
Inspection 4 work-hours x $85 per hour = $340
$0
$340
$30,260

The FAA estimates the following costs to do any necessary
replacements 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 replacements:

On-Condition Costs

Action
Labor cost
Parts cost
Cost per product
Blade Replacement 10 work-hours x $85 per hour = $850
$4,000
$4,850

The FAA has included all known costs in its cost estimate.
According to the manufacturer, however, some of the costs of this
proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost
impact on affected operators.

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.

Regulatory Findings

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
reference, Safety.

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
directive: