DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2019-0113; Product Identifier 2017-SW-140-AD; Amendment
39-21584; AD 2021-11-22]
Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The FAA is superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2016-11-21
for Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH (Airbus Helicopters) Model
EC135P1, EC135P2, EC135P2+, EC135T1, EC135T2, and EC135T2+ helicopters.
AD 2016-11-21 required revising the life limit of certain parts and
removing each part that has reached its life limit. This AD continues
to require revising the life limits for certain parts and removing each
part that has reached or exceeded its life limit and expands the
applicability to include Model EC135P3 and EC135T3 helicopters. This AD
was prompted by the certification of new helicopter models since AD
2016-11-21 was issued. 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 service information identified in this final rule,
contact Airbus Helicopters, 2701 N Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX
75052; telephone 972-641-0000 or 800-232-0323; fax 972-641-3775; or at
may view this service information 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 at https://www.regulations.gov
by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2019-0113.
Examining the AD Docket
You may examine the AD docket at https://www.regulations.gov by
searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2019-0113; 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, the
European Aviation Safety Agency (now European Union Aviation Safety
Agency) (EASA) AD, any service information that is incorporated by
reference, 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: Matt Fuller, AD Program Manager,
Operational Safety Branch, Airworthiness Products Section, General
Aviation & Rotorcraft Unit, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, TX
76177; telephone 817-222-5110; email email@example.com.
The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14
CFR part 39 to supersede AD 2016-11-21, Amendment 39-18548 (81 FR
36137, June 6, 2016), (AD 2016-11-21) which applied to Airbus
Helicopters Model EC135P1, EC135P2, EC135P2+, EC135T1, EC135T2, and
EC135T2+ helicopters. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on
March 8, 2021 (86 FR 13237). In the NPRM, the FAA proposed to require,
before further flight, establishing a life limit for the tail rotor hub
body of 27,400 hours time-in-service (TIS) or using Airbus Helicopters
service information if the history of the tail rotor hub body is not
known or cannot be identified. The NPRM also proposed to require
establishing life limits for certain swashplate and mixing lever gear
unit parts in the Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) of the
existing maintenance manual for your helicopter, and recording the
revised life limit on the component history card or equivalent record.
Additionally, the NPRM proposed to require continuing to record the
life limit of certain parts that have not reached their life limit.
Finally, the NPRM proposed to require removing from service any part
that reached or exceeded its life limit.
The NPRM was prompted by EASA AD 2017-0243, dated December 6, 2017
(EASA AD 2017-0243), issued by EASA, which is the Technical Agent for
the Member States of the European Union, to correct an unsafe condition
Airbus Helicopters Model EC135P1, EC135P2, EC135P2+, EC135P3, EC135T1,
EC135T2, EC135T2+, EC135T3, EC635P2+, EC635P3, EC635T1, EC635T2+, and
EC635T3 helicopters. EASA AD 2017-0243 superseded EASA AD 2013-0178,
dated August 7, 2013 (EASA AD 2013-0178), which was prompted by Airbus
Helicopters revising the airworthiness limitations for the Model EC135
and EC635 helicopters' type design as published in the Master Servicing
Manual (MSM) EC135 Chapter 04--ALS documents. Revision 14 of the MSM
contains these new airworthiness limitations. EASA stated that failure
to comply with these limitations could result in failure of a critical
part, which could result in loss of control of the helicopter.
Accordingly, EASA AD 2013-0178 required revising the ALS to include the
new life limits and replacing each part that has reached its life
limit. Superseding EASA AD 2017-0243 expands the applicability to
include Airbus Helicopters Model EC135P3, EC135T3, EC635P3, and EC635T3
helicopters. New life limits were also added for some parts.
The FAA received comments from one commenter. The following
presents the comments received on the NPRM and the FAA's response.
The individual commented that the NPRM sets the life limit for the
hinged support part number (P/N) L671M7003210 at 8,400 hours TIS but
that the life limit of this component is at 19,000 hours per ALS Rev 01
chapter 04-10-00. The individual also commented that the NPRM sets the
life limit for the bolt P/N L671M7001220 at 8,400 hours TIS but that
the life limit of this component is at 19,000 hours per ALS Rev 01
chapter 04-10-00. The FAA agrees and has changed this AD to the revise
the life limit to 19,000 hours TIS for the hinged support and the bolt.
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 reviewed the relevant
data, considered the comments received, and determined that air safety
requires adopting this AD as proposed except for increasing the life
limit for the hinged support and bolt. These changes will neither
increase the scope of the AD nor increase the economic burden on any
operator. Accordingly, the FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe
condition on these helicopters.
Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51
The FAA reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin ASB
EC135-04A-012, Revision 0, dated September 11, 2017, which specifies
incorporating life limits for the tail rotor hub body into the tail
rotor hub log card and into the list of life-limited parts. Airbus
Helicopters reports the addition of the tail rotor hub body into the
tail rotor hub log card was prompted by a new, recently manufactured,
This service information 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 applies to Model EC635P2+, EC635P3, EC635T2+, and
EC635T3 helicopters, whereas this AD does not because these model
helicopters are not FAA type-certificated. The EASA AD requires
revising the Aircraft Maintenance Program with new or revised life
limitations within 12 months after the EASA AD's effective date. This
AD requires revising the life limit for certain parts in the ALS of the
existing maintenance manual for your helicopter before further flight.
Costs of Compliance
The FAA estimates that this AD affects 272 helicopters of U.S.
Registry. The FAA estimates that operators may incur the following
costs in order to comply with this AD. Labor costs are estimated at $85
Revising the component history card or equivalent record will take
about 2 work-hours, for an estimated cost of $170 per helicopter and
$46,240 for the U.S. fleet.
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:
a. Removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2016-11-21, Amendment 39-18548
(81 FR 36137, June 6, 2016); and
b. Adding the following new AD: