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PROPOSED AD AIRBUS HELICOPTERS: Docket No. FAA-2021-0947; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00195-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 the Airbus Helicopters helicopters, certificated in
    any category, identified in paragraphs (c)(1) through (3) of this  AD,
    all serial numbers.

(1) Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350B1, AS350B2, AS350B3, AS350D, EC130B4, and
    EC130T2 helicopters.

(2) Model AS355E, AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N and AS355NP helicopters

(3) Model SA-365C1, SA-365C2, SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2,  and  AS 365 N3
    helicopters.

(d) SUBJECT

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6200, Main Rotor System.

(e) UNSAFE CONDITION

    This AD was prompted by a report of increased vibration during  flight
    on  an  Airbus  Helicopters   Model  AS  365  helicopter.   Subsequent
    investigation found  a total  loss of  tightening torque  of one screw
    connecting the  main rotor  (MR) pitch  rod to  the horn  of its upper
    link,  which  led  to  abnormal wear  of  the  screw  and consequently
    increased  the vibrations  coming  from  the MR  control chain  to the
    pilot's flight controls. The FAA is issuing this AD to address loss of
    tightening torque of  the screws connecting  the MR pitch  rods to the
    horns of  the upper  links. The  unsafe condition,  if not  addressed,
    could result in loss of one or more MR pitch rod upper links, possibly
    resulting in loss of control of the helicopter.

(f) COMPLIANCE

    Comply  with this  AD within  the compliance  times specified,  unless
    already done.

(g) REQUIREMENTS

    Except  as specified  in paragraph  (h) of  this AD:  Comply with  all
    required actions and compliance times specified in, and in  accordance
    with, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2021-0048, dated
    February 16, 2021 (EASA AD 2021-0048).

(h) EXCEPTIONS TO EASA AD 2021-0048

(1) Where EASA AD 2021-0048 requires compliance  in terms of flight hours,
    this AD requires using hours time-in-service.

(2) Where EASA AD 2021-0048 refers to its effective date, this AD requires
    using the effective date of this AD.

(3) Where the service information  referenced  in EASA AD 2021-0048 speci-
    fies discarding parts, this AD requires removing those parts from serv
    -ice.

(4) This AD does not mandate compliance with the "Remarks" section of EASA
    AD 2021-0048.

(5) Where a work card  in the service information  referenced  in  EASA AD
    2021-0048 specifies returning a part to the manufacturer, this AD does
    not include that requirement.

(6) For  Model AS350 helicopters:  For the visual inspection  of the pitch
    rod  upper  link,  where  a  work  card  in  the  service  information
    referenced in  EASA AD  2021-0048 specifies  to do  an inspection of a
    pitch rod body  for any dent,  impact, scratch, or  corrosion, and any
    dent,  impact,  scratch,  or  corrosion  is  found,  this  AD requires
    replacing the pitch rod before further flight.

(7) For  Model AS355 helicopters:  For the visual inspection  of the pitch
    rod  upper  link,  where  a  work  card  in  the  service  information
    referenced in  EASA AD  2021-0048 specifies  to do  an inspection of a
    pitch rod body for any impact, scratch, strike, or corrosion, and  any
    impact,  scratch,  strike, or  corrosion  is found,  this  AD requires
    replacing the pitch rod before further flight.

(8) For  Model SA365 helicopters:  For the visual inspection  of the pitch
    rod  upper  link,  where  a  work  card  in  the  service  information
    referenced in EASA AD 2021-0048 specifies to "check bonding and  state
    retaining  ring  on  the  pitch  rods,"  and  any  discrepancy  (e.g.,
    disbonding) is  found and  no corrective  action is  specified, before
    further flight,  contact the  Manager, General  Aviation &  Rotorcraft
    Section,  International  Validation  Branch FAA;  or  EASA;  or Airbus
    Helicopters'  EASA Design  Organization Approval  (DOA); for  approved
    corrective  actions,  and  accomplish  those  actions  before  further
    flight. If  approved by  the DOA,  the approval  must include  the DOA
    -authorized signature.

(9) For  Model SA365 helicopters:  For the visual inspection  of the pitch
    horn,  if  any  discrepancy  (corrosion,  scratch,  impact,  crack, or
    debonded retaining ring) is found  during the inspection of the  pitch
    horn and there is no corrective  action specified in the work card  in
    the  service  information  referenced  in  EASA  AD  2021-0048, before
    further flight,  contact the  Manager, General  Aviation &  Rotorcraft
    Section,  International  Validation  Branch, FAA;  or EASA;  or Airbus
    Helicopters' EASA DOA; for approved corrective actions, and accomplish
    those  actions before  further flight.  If  approved  by the  DOA, the
    approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.

(10) For  Model AS365 helicopters:  For the visual inspection of the pitch
     horn, where a work card in the service information referenced in EASA
     AD  2021-0048  specifies to  do  a dye  penetrant  inspection "if  in
     doubt," this AD requires doing a dye penetrant inspection.

(11) For Model AS350 and EC130 helicopters: Where a work card in the serv-
     ice information referenced in EASA AD 2021-0048  refers to "the pitch
     change lever," for this AD, that term is equivalent to "pitch horn."

(i) NO REPORTING REQUIREMENT

    Although the service information referenced in EASA AD 2021-0048 spec-
    ifies to submit certain information to the manufacturer,  this AD does
    not include that requirement.

(j) SPECIAL FLIGHT PERMIT

    Special flight permits,  as described in 14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199, are
    prohibited.

(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 2021-0048,  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 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-2021-0947.

(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; telephone (516) 228-7330; email andrea.jimenez@faa
    .gov.

Issued on October 22, 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-2021-0947; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00195-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 Model AS350B, AS350BA, AS350B1, AS350B2,
AS350B3, AS350D, EC130B4, and EC130T2 helicopters; Model AS355E,
AS355F, AS355F1, AS355F2, AS355N, and AS355NP helicopters; and Model
SA-365C1, SA-365C2, SA-365N, SA-365N1, AS-365N2, and AS 365 N3
helicopters. This proposed AD was prompted by a report of increased
vibration during flight. This proposed AD would require the application
of alignment markings on, and repetitive inspections of, the main rotor
(MR) pitch rod upper links and, depending on findings, the
accomplishment of applicable 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 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; 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.
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-2021-0947.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0947; 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; telephone (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-2021-0947; Project Identifier
MCAI-2021-00195-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; telephone (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

EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2021-0048, dated February 16, 2021
(EASA AD 2021-0048), to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus
Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter, Eurocopter France,
A[eacute]rospatiale) Model AS 350 B, AS 350 BA, AS 350 BB, AS 350 B1,
AS 350 B2, AS 350 B3, AS 350 D, EC 130 B4, and EC 130 T2 helicopters;
Model AS 355 E, AS 355 F, AS 355 F1, AS 355 F2, AS 355 N, and AS 355 NP
helicopters; and Model SA 365 C1, SA 365 C2, SA 365 C3, SA 365 N, SA
365 N1, AS 365 N2, and AS 365 N3 helicopters; all serial numbers. Model
AS 350 BB and SA 365 C3 helicopters are not certificated by the FAA and
are not included on the U.S. type certificate data sheet; this proposed
AD therefore does not include those helicopters in the applicability.
This proposed AD was prompted by a report of increased vibration
during flight by the crew of an Airbus Helicopters Model AS 365
helicopter. Subsequent investigation found a total loss of tightening
torque of one screw connecting the MR pitch rod to the horn of its
upper link, which led to abnormal wear of the screw and consequently
increased the vibrations coming from the MR control chain to the
pilot's flight controls. The MR pitch rod upper link installation is
identical on Model AS 350, EC 130, AS 355, SA 365 and AS 365
helicopters, therefore, these models may be subject to the unsafe
condition revealed on the Model AS 365 helicopter. The FAA is proposing
this AD to address loss of tightening torque of the screws connecting
the MR pitch rods to the horns of the upper links. This condition, if
not addressed, could result in loss of one or more MR pitch rod upper
links, possibly resulting in loss of control of the helicopter. See
EASA AD 2021-0048 for additional background information.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

EASA AD 2021-0048 requires the application of alignment markings on
the screw, washer, nut, and horn on both sides of each MR pitch rod
upper link, and repetitive visual inspections of the two alignment
markings to determine if the markings are aligned on both sides. If,
during any inspection the markings on one or both sides of a MR pitch
rod upper link are found misaligned, the additional actions and
corrective actions include the following.
Measuring the tightening torque value of the nut of the
pitch rod upper link and adjusting the nut if it does not meet the
specified criteria.
Inspecting the pitch rod upper link to determine the
condition of the bush (bushing) and spherical bearing and to determine
if the cups are tight (paint mark in place), and measuring the play. If
there is seizing, carbide chips, or the cups are loose (paint mark not
in place), the corrective actions include replacing the spherical
bearing. If the play measurement is greater than the specified
measurement the corrective action is replacing the rod end fitting.
Additional actions include checking the bonding and condition of the
retaining ring and inspecting the pitch rod bodies for evidence of any
impact, scratch, strike, or corrosion.
Inspecting the pitch rods for chipped finish paint,
scratches, impacts, and cracking, and measuring the play. If paint is
chipped the corrective action is repair (sanding the affected area and
applying touch-up primer and paint). If there is any scratch, an impact
with a depth equal to or greater than the specified measurement, or any
crack, the corrective action is replacing the pitch rod. If the play
measurement is greater than 0.25 mm or there is cracking, the
corrective action is replacing the spherical bearing. An additional
action, if a helicopter was involved in an incident, is inspecting the
straightness of the rod body ``R'' and replacing the pitch rod if the
straightness of the rod body is greater than 0.5 mm.
Inspecting the pitch horn for any evidence of impact,
scratch, corrosion, chipped paint, cracking, and any elongated
attachment hole; and inspecting the bonding of the retaining ring and
measuring dimension ``X'' of the retaining ring. If there is any
evidence of impact, scratch, or corrosion, and the depth meets the
specified criteria, the corrective actions include touching up the
affected area with an abrasive cloth and applying a protective coating
and a coat of primer. If there is any cracking, elongated attachment
hole, or the impact, scratch, or corrosion depth exceeds the specified
criteria, the corrective action is replacing the pitch horn. If paint
is chipped the corrective actions include sanding the affected area and
applying touch-up primer and paint. If the retaining ring has debonded
the corrective action is to rebond the retaining ring. If dimension
``X'' of the retaining ring exceeds the specified
criteria, the corrective action is replacing the retaining ring.
Measuring the geometry of ``G'' of the pitch horn and
replacing the pitch horn if the dimension is not within the specified
range.
Installing new split pins, nuts, washers, and a screw on
the pitch rod upper link.
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 these same type designs.

Proposed AD Requirements in This NPRM

This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified
in EASA AD 2021-0048, 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 2021-0048 by reference in the FAA
final rule. This proposed AD would, therefore, require compliance with
EASA AD 2021-0048 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 2021-0048 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-
0048. Service information required by EASA AD 2021-0048 for compliance
will be available at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and
locating Docket No. FAA-2021-0947 after the FAA final rule is
published.

Costs of Compliance

The FAA estimates that this AD, if adopted as proposed, would
affect 1,266 helicopters of U.S. Registry. 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 0.50 work-hour x $85 per hour = $42.50 per inspection cycle $0 $42.50 per inspection cycle $53,805 per inspection cycle

* The FAA has determined that application of alignment markings would take
a minimal amount of time at a nominal cost.

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:

On-Condition Costs *

Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product
Screw, Washer, Nut, and Split Pin Replacement 1 work-hour x $85 per hour = $85 $40 $125
Spherical Bearing Replacement 4 work hours x $85 per hour = $340 $500 $840
Pitch Rod Replacement 4 work hours x $85 per hour = $340 $3,000 $3,340
Pitch Horn Replacement 16 work hours x $85 per hour = $1360 $4,000 $5,360

* The FAA has determined that ``repair'' of chipped paint would take a minimal
amount of time at a nominal cost.

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: