DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0317; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00175-R;
Amendment 39-21520; AD 2021-09-07]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: The FAA is superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2019-17-
02, which applied to certain Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH
(Airbus Helicopters) Model EC135P1, EC135P2, EC135P2+, EC135P3,
EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, and EC135T3 helicopters. AD 2019-17-02
required inspecting certain part-numbered actuators for corrosion,
removing them as necessary, and reporting certain information. This new
AD continues to require inspecting certain part-numbered actuators,
removing them as necessary, and reporting; and extends the compliance
time for the initial inspection, expands the applicability, and
includes new requirements for repetitive replacement of affected
actuators; as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency
(EASA) AD, which is incorporated by reference. This AD was prompted by
a hard landing of a helicopter and the discovery of a ruptured and
displaced tie bar inside the piston of the longitudinal single-axis
actuator of the main rotor actuator (MRA). The FAA is issuing this AD
to address the unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD becomes effective May 10, 2021.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of May 10,
The FAA must receive comments on this AD by June 7, 2021.
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.
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 material incorporated by reference (IBR) in this AD, contact
the 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 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. It is also available in the AD
docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for
and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0317.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.
gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-
0317; 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 AD, any comments received, and other information. The street
address for Docket Operations is listed above. Comments will be
available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Hal Jensen, Aerospace Engineer,
Operational Safety Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA,
950 L'Enfant Plaza N SW, Washington, DC 20024; telephone 202-267-9167;
The FAA issued AD 2019-17-02, Amendment 39-19722 (84 FR 47410,
September 10, 2019) (AD 2019-17-02), which applied to Airbus
Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Model EC135P1, EC135P2, EC135P2+, EC135P3,
EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, and EC135T3 helicopters with certain
longitudinal, collective, and lateral single-axis actuators installed
having accumulated 6 or more years since manufacturing date or last
overhaul, whichever occurred later. AD 2019-17-02 required visually
inspecting for corrosion on all external surfaces of the longitudinal,
collective, and lateral single-axis actuators, and based on the
inspection outcome, removing the single-axis actuators from service at
different compliance times. AD 2019-17-02 also required reporting
certain information, along with photos of any corrosion, to Airbus
Helicopters. The FAA issued AD 2019-17-02 to address corrosion in
certain MRA components, which could result in failure of the component,
failure of the MRA, and loss of control of the helicopter.
Actions Since AD 2019-17-02 Was Issued
Since the FAA issued AD 2019-17-02, the agency has determined the
unsafe condition affects all longitudinal, collective, and lateral
single-axis actuators that have accumulated 4 or more years since
manufacturing date or last overhaul. Also, Airbus Helicopters has
developed repetitive replacement and repetitive inspection procedures
for the tie bar located in the affected single-axis actuators and
addresses affected actuators with a manufacturing date or last overhaul
of more than 4 years and less than 6 years, in addition to the affected
actuators with a manufacturing date or last overhaul of more than 6
The EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2020-0105, dated May 11, 2020 (EASA
AD 2020-0105) (also referred to as the Mandatory Continuing
Airworthiness Information, or the MCAI), to correct an unsafe condition
for all Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH 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, all serial numbers. 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
This AD was prompted by a hard landing of an Airbus Helicopters
Model EC135 helicopter and the discovery of a ruptured and displaced tie
inside the piston of the longitudinal single-axis actuator of the MRA.
The FAA is issuing this AD to address a ruptured and displaced tie bar
inside the piston of the longitudinal single-axis actuator of the MRA,
which could result in reduced control of the helicopter and could
result in a forced landing with consequent damage to the helicopter and
injury to occupants. See the MCAI for additional background
Explanation of Retained Requirements
Although this AD does not explicitly restate the requirements of AD
2019-17-02, this AD retains certain requirements of AD 2019-17-02.
Those requirements are referenced in EASA AD 2020-0105, which, in turn,
is referenced in paragraph (g) of this AD.
Related IBR Material Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2020-0105 describes procedures for an initial inspection of
the affected single-axis actuators for corrosion, reporting inspection
findings, and replacing affected single-axis actuators that have
corrosion. EASA AD 2020-0105 also describes procedures for an option
for repetitive replacement or repetitive inspection for corrosion (and
repair if necessary) of the tie bar located in an affected single-axis
actuator. 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 products have been approved by the aviation authority of
another country, and are approved for operation in the United States.
Pursuant to the FAA's bilateral agreement with the State of Design
Authority, the FAA has been notified of the unsafe condition described
in the MCAI referenced above. The FAA is issuing this AD after
evaluating all pertinent information and determining that the unsafe
condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of
these same type designs.
Requirements of This AD
This AD requires accomplishing the actions specified in EASA AD
2020-0105, described previously, as incorporated by reference, except
for any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of
this AD and except as discussed under ``Differences Between this AD and
Explanation of Required Compliance Information
In the FAA's ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency of the AD
process, the FAA initially worked with Airbus and EASA to develop a
process to use certain EASA ADs as the primary source of information
for compliance with requirements for corresponding FAA ADs. The FAA has
since coordinated with other manufacturers and civil aviation
authorities (CAAs) to use this process. As a result, EASA AD 2020-0105
will be incorporated by reference in the FAA final rule. This AD would,
therefore, require compliance with EASA AD 2020-0105 in its entirety,
through that incorporation, except for any differences identified as
exceptions in the regulatory text of this AD. Using common terms that
are the same as the heading of a particular section in the EASA AD 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
the EASA AD. Service information specified in EASA AD 2020-0105 that is
required for compliance with EASA AD 2020-0105 is available on the
internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating
Docket No. FAA-2021-0317.
Differences Between This AD and the MCAI
Where paragraph (4) of EASA AD 2020-0105 provides an option to do
repetitive inspections of an affected part, this AD would provide an
option to do repetitive repairs in lieu of the repetitive inspections
and would require that the repetitive repairs be done using a method
approved by the Manager, International Validation Branch, FAA.
FAA's Justification for Immediate Adoption and Determination of the
Section 553(b)(3)(B) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5
U.S.C. 551 et seq.) authorizes agencies to dispense with notice and
comment procedures for rules when the agency, for ``good cause'' finds
that those procedures are ``impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to
the public interest.'' Under this section, an agency, upon finding good
cause, may issue a final rule without providing notice and seeking
comment prior to issuance. Further, section 553(d) of the APA
authorizes agencies to make rules effective in less than thirty days,
upon a finding of good cause.
An unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of
this AD without providing an opportunity for public comments prior to
adoption. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public
justifies foregoing notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule
because a ruptured and displaced tie bar inside the piston of a
longitudinal, collective, or lateral single-axis actuator of the MRA
could result in reduced control of the helicopter, which could result
in a forced landing with consequent damage to the helicopter and injury
to occupants. In addition, the compliance time for the initial
inspection of each affected part is within 14 days after the effective
date of this AD, which is shorter than the time necessary for the
public to comment and for publication of the final rule. Therefore,
notice and opportunity for prior public comment are impracticable and
contrary to public interest pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B). In
addition, the FAA finds that good cause exists pursuant to 5 U.S.C.
553(d) for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days, for
the same reasons the FAA found good cause to forgo notice and comment.
The FAA invites you to send any written relevant data, views, or
arguments about this AD. Send your comments to an address listed under
ADDRESSES. Include ``Docket No. FAA-2021-0317; Project Identifier MCAI-
2021-00175-R'' at the beginning of your comments. The most helpful
comments reference a specific portion of the AD, 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
AD 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 AD.
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 AD 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 AD, 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 AD. Submissions containing CBI should be
sent to Hal Jensen, Aerospace Engineer, Operational Safety Branch,
Compliance & Airworthiness Division, FAA, 950 L'Enfant Plaza N SW,
Washington, DC 20024; telephone 202-267-9167; email email@example.com.
Any commentary that the FAA receives that is not specifically
designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket for this
Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)
The requirements of the RFA do not apply when an agency finds good
cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553 to adopt a rule without prior notice and
comment. Because the FAA has determined that it has good cause to adopt
this rule without notice and comment, RFA analysis is not required.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 337 helicopters of U.S.
registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this AD:
Estimated Costs for Required Actions *
||Cost per product
||Cost on U.S. operators
|2 work-hours x $85 per hour =
$170, per inspection cycle
||$170, per inspection cycle
||$57,290, per inspection cycle
* Table does not include estimated
costs for reporting.
The FAA estimates that it takes about 1 work-hour per product to
comply with the reporting requirement in this AD. The average labor
rate is $85 per hour. Based on these figures, the FAA estimates the
cost of reporting the inspection results on U.S. operators to be
$28,645, or $85 per product.
The FAA estimates the following costs to do any necessary on-
condition actions that would be required based on the results of any
required actions. The FAA has no way of determining the number of
helicopters that might need these on-condition actions:
Estimated Costs of On-Condition Actions
||Cost per product
|6 work-hours x $85 per hour =
||Up to $346,802
||Up to $347,312
According to the manufacturer, some
or all of the costs of this AD
may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on
affected individuals. The FAA does not control warranty coverage for
affected individuals. As a result, the FAA has included all known costs
in the cost estimate.
Paperwork Reduction Act
A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not
required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to penalty for
failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of
information displays a current valid OMB control number. The control
number for the collection of information required by this AD is 2120-
0056. The paperwork cost associated with this AD has been detailed in
the Costs of Compliance section of this document and includes time for
reviewing instructions, as well as completing and reviewing the
collection of information. Therefore, all reporting associated with
this AD is mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden
and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to
Information Collection Clearance Officer, Federal Aviation
Administration, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX 76177-1524.
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 AD would not have federalism
implications under Executive Order 13132. This 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 regulation:
(1) Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive
Order 12866, and
(2) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska.
List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39
Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by
Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the
Administrator, the FAA amends 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 (AD) 2019-17-02, Amendment 39-19722
(84 FR 47410, September 10, 2019); and
b. Adding the following new AD: