DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0887; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00045-R]
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
for all Airbus Helicopters Model EC120B helicopters. This proposed AD
was prompted by a report of corrosion found on the external tail boom
skin, under the Very High Frequency (VHF) antenna. This proposed AD
would require inspecting the tail boom at the VHF antenna attachments
and depending on the results, repairing or modifying the tail boom
skin, 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 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
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 the EASA material on the EASA website at https://ad.easa.europa.eu.
For Airbus Helicopter 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 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-2021-0887.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0887; 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: Gregory Koenig, Aerospace Engineer,
Airframe & Administrative Services Section, Chicago ACO Branch,
Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 2300 E Devon Ave., Des
Plaines, IL 60018; telephone (847) 294-7127; email
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-2021-0887; Project Identifier
MCAI-2021-00045-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
Gregory Koenig, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe & Administrative Services
Section, Chicago ACO Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA,
2300 E Devon Ave., Des Plaines, IL 60018; telephone (847) 294-7127;
email Gregory.L.Koenig@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 2021-0015, dated January 13, 2021
(EASA AD 2021-0015), to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus
Helicopters (AH), formerly Eurocopter, Eurocopter France Model EC 120
This proposed AD was prompted by a report of corrosion found on the
external tail boom skin, under the VHF antenna of an EC120B helicopter.
The FAA is proposing this AD to detect corrosion in that area and
prevent the degradation of the tail boom structure. See EASA AD 2021-
0015 for additional background information.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2021-0015 requires a one-time inspection of the VHF antenna
attachments to the tail boom and, depending on the results, corrective
action or modification of the tail boom.
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.
Other Related Service Information
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin No.
EC120-53A017, Revision 1, dated November 26, 2020. This service
information specifies procedures for inspecting and modifying the VHF
antenna attachments on the tail boom.
The FAA also reviewed Airbus Helicopters Service Bulletin No.
EC120-53-018, Revision 0, dated November 26, 2020. This service
information specifies procedures for repairing the tail boom if there
is any corrosion or a crack at the VHF antenna attachments.
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 EASA AD 2021-0015. 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.
Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM
This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified
in EASA AD 2021-0015, described previously, as incorporated by
reference, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the
regulatory text of this proposed AD and except as discussed under
``Differences Between this Proposed AD and the EASA 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 2021-0015 by reference in the FAA
final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with
EASA AD 2021-0015 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 2021-0015 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-
0015. Service information referenced in EASA AD 2021-0015 for
compliance will be available at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0887 after the FAA final
rule is published.
Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD
Where the service information referenced in EASA AD 2021-0015
specifies ``to check for corrosion under the VHF antenna base
support,'' this proposed AD would require inspecting for corrosion
because that action must be accomplished by a mechanic that meets the
requirements of 14 CFR part 65 subpart D. Where the service information
referenced in EASA AD 2021-0015 specifies to ``make sure that there is
no aluminum oxide (white powder),'' ``make sure that there is no
pitting corrosion,'' and ``make sure that there are no crack,'' this
proposed AD would require inspecting for any aluminum oxide (white
powder), pitting corrosion, and cracks instead. Where the service
information referenced in EASA AD 2021-0015 specifies discarding parts,
this proposed AD would require removing those parts from service
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 89 helicopters of
U.S. Registry. Labor rates are estimated at $85 per work-hour. Based on
these numbers, the FAA estimates that operators may incur the following
costs in order to comply with this proposed AD.
Inspecting and modifying each tail boom at VHF attachment would
take about 4 work-hours and parts would cost about $4,745, for an
estimated cost of $5,085 per helicopter and $452,565 for the U.S.
If required, repairing the VHF antenna attachment at the tail boom
would take up to 15 work-hours and parts would cost up to $7,812, for
an estimated cost of up to $9,087 per helicopter.
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