DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2021-0199; Project Identifier MCAI-2021-00016-
R;Amendment 39-21579; AD 2021-11-17]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for
Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH (AHD) Model EC135P1, EC135P2,
EC135P2+, EC135P3, EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, and EC135T3 helicopters.
This AD was prompted by a report of increased control force in the
collective axis. This AD requires a one-time visual inspection of the
main rotor actuator (MRA), as specified in a European Aviation Safety
Agency (now European Union Aviation Safety Agency) (EASA) AD, which is
incorporated by reference. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the
unsafe condition on these products.
DATES: This AD is effective July 16, 2021.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by
reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of July 16, 2021.
ADDRESSES: 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-2021-0199.
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-
0199; 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 final rule, any comments received, and other information. The
address for Docket Operations is U.S. Department of Transportation,
Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200
New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Katherine Venegas, Aviation Safety
Engineer, Los Angeles ACO Branch, FAA, 3960 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood,
California 90712; telephone (562) 627-5353; email
EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the
European Union, has issued EASA AD 2018-0284, dated December 20, 2018
(EASA AD 2018-0284), to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus
Helicopters Deutschland GmbH (AHD) 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. Model EC635 P2+, EC635
P3, EC635 T1, and EC635 T3 helicopters are not certificated by the FAA
and are not included on the U.S. type certificate data sheet; this AD
therefore does not include those helicopters in the applicability.
The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14
CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to Model EC135P1, EC135P2,
EC135P2+, EC135P3, EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, and EC135T3 helicopters.
The NPRM published in the Federal Register on March 30, 2021 (86 FR
16550). The NPRM was prompted by a report of increased control force in
the collective axis on an AHD Model EC135 helicopter. Subsequent
inspections determined that a nut on a piston of the MRA had cracked
and separated from the piston rod. The NPRM proposed to require a one-
time visual inspection of the MRA, as specified in an EASA AD.
The FAA is issuing this AD to prevent failure of the MRA and
subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. See EASA AD 2018-0284 for
additional background information.
Discussion of Final Airworthiness Directive
The FAA gave the public the opportunity to participate in
developing this final rule. The FAA received no comments on the NPRM or
on the determination of the cost to the public.
The FAA reviewed the relevant data and determined that air safety
and the public interest require adopting this final rule as proposed.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
EASA AD 2018-0284 describes procedures for a one-time visual
inspection of the MRA and depending on the results, replacing the
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.
Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD
The EASA AD requires contacting Airbus Helicopters or replacing an
affected part, whereas this AD requires performing the corrective
action in accordance with FAA-approved procedures or removing the
affected parts from service instead. Where the EASA AD specifies a
compliance time for the inspection in terms of calendar time or flight
hours, this AD requires a compliance time in terms of hours time-in-
service instead. Where the EASA AD specifies a compliance time of 15
days for reporting the inspection results, this AD requires that the
findings be reported within 30 days.
The FAA considers this AD interim action. If final action is later
identified, the FAA might consider further rulemaking then.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 331 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 AD.
Inspecting the nuts on the MRA pistons takes about 1 work-hour for
an estimated cost of $85 per helicopter and $28,135 for the U.S. fleet.
Replacing the MRA takes about 7 work-hours and parts cost $325,081 for
an estimated cost of $325,676 per helicopter. Repairing the MRA takes
up to about 8 work-hours and parts cost about $110 for an estimated
cost of up to $790 per MRA. Reporting information takes about 1 hour
for an estimated cost of $85 per helicopter and $28,135 for the U.S.
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.
This AD will not have federalism implications under Executive Order
13132. This AD will 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 that this AD:
(1) Is not a "significant regulatory action" under Executive Order 12866,
(2) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and
(3) Will 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
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 adding the following new airworthiness